Baang, which releases on August 18, is a dark comedy that has Shanvi Srivastava and Raghu Dixit playing gangsters
The dark comedy Baang, which is releasing in theatres on August 18, marks the directorial debut of Sree Ganesh Parashuram, whose only other filmmaking experience until then was having assisted director Arjun on the Likith Shetty-starrer Sankashtakara Ganapati. So, what gave him the confidence to go solo with his very next project? The fact that his film school was years and years of watching a lot of films, sometimes back-to-back shows of the same one, which, in turn, gave him the confidence that he too could make a movie.
“My father was a distributor and exhibitor back home in Shivamogga and I grew up watching pretty much every movie that we played at our theatre. There’ve been days when I watched multiple shows of the same film, first as an audience and then as a critic, figuring out the pros and cons and the technicalities. The back-end business of cinema, which includes distribution and exhibition, also fascinated me. Although I am not formally trained in filmmaking, having studied engineering and then done a masters degree in business administration too, when I took the plunge into films, there was no objection from my family, because they knew all along where my heart truly lies,” explains Sree Ganesh. But if filmmaking was the plan all along, why didn’t he go to film school? “I believe that the greatest learning comes from practical knowledge. As far as the theory of filmmaking goes, I think I got my formal education from the 20 years of watching every film that played in our theatre."
After assisting on Sankashtakara Ganapati, Sree Ganesh then began writing the script for his directorial debut, which took him about a year and a half. Once the script was in place, came the next challenge of finding a producer - Sree Ganesh’s film did not have some regular tropes of commercial cinema, like a love story, for instance. The film, says Sree Ganesh, revolves around a group of four friends, played by Ritvik Muralidhar (who is also the music director of Baang), Natya Ranga, Sunil Gujjar and Saathvika, with the story playing out over 48 hours. “Shanvi Srivastava and Raghu Dixit play important roles in the film and have ample screen time too, but the film is primarily about the four friends and a mystery bag that comes in their possession,” says the filmmaker, adding, “Baang is a dark comedy, which is not an oft attempted genre in Kannada cinema, and convincing a producer to back it took me a year. In fact, in 2019, I considered making it a home production and in early 2020 we got started with our own funding, but then the pandemic struck and everything ground to a halt. It was around this time that we found Pooja Vasanth Kumar, who came onboard to produce the film. We’d shown her some of the sequences we’d shot before the pandemic, which impressed her. Thereafter, the project took off on a completely different note and allowed us to have the star power that we have today.”