The debut production venture of filmmaker Pavan Wadeyar, Dollu was adjudged the Best Regional Film – Kannada at the 68th National Awards
When Kannada director Pavan Wadeyar launched his production house, Wadeyar Movies, along with his wife, Apeksha Purohit, the intention, he said, was to enable other filmmakers to tell tales that deserve to be told, but often do not find the right backing. He also reckoned that while his own filmmaking sensibilities were too commercial, he enjoyed what others would call bridge, or even arthouse cinema – the kind that does well at film festival circuits. It’s a skill he doesn’t possess, but one that he was determined to support in others.
For his first venture, he collaborated with Sagar Puranik, whose earlier work was a short film that had won a National Award - Mahaan Hutatma. Sagar wanted to make a film about traditional art form that was fast disappearing – Dollu Kunitha. The story, about the traditions behind Dollu Kunitha and a group of performers, who disband because it is not lucrative enough, forcing them to seek other means of a livelihood, had a very good festival run, winning several accolades. Buoyed by this reception to their film, Pavan and Sagar were making plans to bring the film to theatres irrespective of the reception it gets, when Dollu received not one, but two National Awards.
While the first was for Best Regional Film – Kannada, the second was for Best Audiography in the sync sound category. This became an issue, because Dollu was not made with sync sound audio. The film’s sound designer Nithin Lukose had taken to social media about this, which Oscar winner Resul Pookutty retweeted and amplified. While the makers offered explanations to the award committee, there’s been no update on the status of this category.
Dollu, which stars Karthik Mahesh, Nidhi Hegde, Babu Hirannaiah, Chandra Mayur, Sharanya Suresh, Vijayalaxmi, Dr. Prabhu Deva DS, Varun Srinivas, Chandramanu KGR and Gangadhar SM, among others, was subsequently released in theatres and is now available to stream as well. Amazon Prime Video had procured the digital rights of the film and it is now available to stream.