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Monday, 13 June 2016

Documenting the peculiar naming ritual of a Karnataka tribe

The smile that appears on your face when you hear for the first time the persons with names like Bullet, Japan, Google, Commission, Sub Inspector and Bullet Rani would go for no change all the while watching the documentary, Name/Place/Animal/ Thing directed by Nitin R, telling the lives of these people.

The documentary tells about a tribal community in a remotest village of Karnataka following their age-old tradition of naming their kids with strange, interesting names. Many changes had swept the village all these years, the villagers, however, are still reluctant to change their peculiar naming ritual.

They name their newborns on whim. If it was the name of the mountains and rivers that interested them earlier, for the past decade or more they are interested in giving names of the most sophisticated things that is worth interest to them.

Nitin, who assisted Malayalam director Ranjit in his five films and an aspiring filmmaker, says that the curious belief behind the naming tradition of the community led to him to travel to the village of Bidadi. There he met the villagers with interesting names. This is his debut work and took three years to complete the research and shoot of the film.

A lanky, shy youth, Nitin is no new to films. His mother, Bhagyalekshmi, has given the first sort of inspiration to take up film as his career and had lend the support to make this documentary. But Nitin is more polite in saying that the pain and hardship of a filmmaker is the same even if you come from a background having many connections with the film industry. He struggled like any other newcomer to fund the film. "I even have to take a job at a call centre in Bengaluru to finance the documentary. I have shot the film in three years and took many months to complete the post-production", says him.

The inquisitive instinct of learning the nuances of film-making, Nitin tried hand at editing and giving sound to the film.

The documentary has no narration. When asked about this, Nitin said that this was a deliberate move as the narration part would have killed the smooth flow. "I was very clear about of not using narration. I let the villagers talk before the camera. That has added the curious element to the film", he said.

Nitin is all set to join the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) for a three year course in Sound Designing as he has topped this year's entrance test.

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