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Lockdown was the inspiration for Rishi’s short film Surya, when people were living the same day over and over again

The film has been directed by debutante Kshitija Jayanth. The film is being screened as part of the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival

Lockdown was the inspiration for Rishi’s short film Surya, when people were living the same day over and over again
Samragini and Rishi in a still from the short film, Surya
  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 05.30 AM, Aug 12, 2022

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One of the short films that have made it to the list of finalists in the Women’s Collective Competition at the ongoing Bengaluru International Short Film Festival is Surya. Directed by debutante Kshitija Jayanth and her team, with Kannada actor Rishi in the lead, the film is a tragic love story with a time loop.

Kshitija, who is currently assisting on the Niranjan Sudhindra-starrer Hunter, to hone her filmmaking skills, says that the inspiration to write Surya came during the lockdown, when life not only came to a complete standstill, but was also on repeat mode for most people. The film follows Surya (Rishi) who wakes up one morning, intent on spending the day with his beloved and, at some point, proposing to her. Tragically, for him, though, she dies by the end of the day. But when he wakes up, he’s back to being with her, prior to his proposal, and no matter what he does or does not, the day ends with her death.

Kshitija, Samragini and Rishi during the making of the film
Kshitija, Samragini and Rishi during the making of the film

“I didn’t really think of it as a time loop when I was writing it. The idea came to me during the lockdown, when it felt like we were living the same day over and over again; essentially, we were not doing anything different. At the same time, there was news of a lot of death. I had this idea of of being stuck in a loop, where you have no control, as well as about having the people around you dying and you being unable to do anything about it. It was a mix of ideas, which became the seed for Surya. It condensed to this one guy, and not a whole community, who is stuck in this loop and he keeps seeing the person he loves die. Even though he goes through that trauma repeatedly, he always gets to spend a really nice day with her. As much as he hates it, he looks forward to waking up and seeing her again,” explains Kshitija, adding, “I knew it had to be a short film – crisp.”

Was it a conscious choice to get Rishi onboard for the film; this is, after all, his first short. “Honestly, I had not thought of reaching out to him. Samragini, who plays Yamini in the film, had worked with a mutual friend of Rishi and suggested we show him the script. Although I knew of his work, I was a tad overwhelmed at the thought of him accepting to be a part of my film. When he did say yes, eventually, it took a while to sink in,” she says. After working with Rishi, one thing that Kshitija is clear is that as and when she is ready to work on her debut feature film, the script of which is a work in progress, she’d want him in the lead.

Kshitija, the writer and director of Surya
Kshitija, the writer and director of Surya

Surya is available to stream on the official site of the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival (bisff.in) and can be accessed upon registration. Those in Bengaluru can catch a screening of the film at the Max Mueller Bhavan, Indiranagar on August 14 at 10 am.

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