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Utsav Gonwar’s film on migrant exodus during the pandemic, Photo, is coming to theatres

Presented by Prakash Raj, Photo, which was adjudged the third best Kannada film at the Bengaluru international Film Festival in 2023, is being released by KRG Studios

Utsav Gonwar’s film on migrant exodus during the pandemic, Photo, is coming to theatres
A still from Photo

Last Updated: 10.29 PM, Feb 21, 2024


A few days ago, actor Prakash Raj had announced that he would present the Kannada film Photo, by debutant director Utsav Gonwar for a theatrical release. KRG Studios has taken on the responsibility of releasing it and has fixed March 15 as the date, which comes more than a year after the film was widely appreciated at the Bengaluru International Film Festival and received a standing ovation at its screening.

Ursav’s film is about a young boy called Durgya (Veeresh Gonwar), who is sent to Bengaluru to help his father, a construction labourer, after a 15-day school holiday is announced at the onset of the pandemic. Unaware of the seriousness of the pandemic, Durgya’s mother sends him to be with his father, played by Mahadev Mahapad. The boy dreams of taking a picture of himself in front of the Vidhana Soudha, but that is not to be when Prime Minister Modi announces lockdown with immediate effect, which sent migrant workers scrambling to find ways to return home.

With hardly any means of transportation, money or food, thousands travelled across the country on foot, a dark period that is a part of Utsav’s film as well. In earlier media reports, Utsav had said that news reports of a pregnant lady who’d walked to Ballari and died was the starting point for his film. He wanted to document what was happening during the pandemic for future generations to see.


The film, which was adjudged second best Kannada film at BIFFes 2023, is, no doubt, political in nature, as Utsav is clear that he wanted to present an honest picture of what transpired in 2020. As much as it is about the hardships that migrant labourers faced, Photo is also about a class struggle and highlights the contrast between the rich and the poor.

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