After receiving critical acclaim at many film festivals, including the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), director Kamakhya Narayan Singh’s feature Bhor is now available for online streaming. He talks about the idea, generating funds for an issue based film and other related struggles.
When I started working on Bhor, I had two issues in my mind. One was the issue of sanitation in rural India, which was quite burning at that time, and the other was how the last person in the country reacting to this? Is the problem also connected to the caste-based segregation?
As a first-time feature film director, you don’t plan on the producer because you need to have a story in place first. Then you need to mobilise whatever you have—friends, resources, well-wishers. With no money to hire a writer, two of my friends–Ranjan Chauhan and Bhaskar–joined in and we worked on the story as a team.
Second thing is that you do not get a big banner, so you convince a new producer. I was comparatively in a better position because I had several years of working experience in television, so I found one.
Who will do the casting for you? You need the best, you need new and deserving ones. I met Dilip Shankar, he is unconventional, his work in Life of pi and Monsoon Wedding were really good. I even wanted to take some known faces, and some of the characters were written keeping some actors in mind. But the problem was that I wanted my entire cast to live in the village for two months, so they could look and feel rustic. The known established actors did not want to take the risk of investing two months for an unsure outcome. So, we started looking for fresh and new faces. It took us almost six months.
Location was also a big problem because I wanted to shoot in North Bihar, near Kosi river, a beautiful location unexplored in films so far, but logistically it wasn’t possible. So, we decided to shoot in a village in Navada district about 100km from Patna, native place of assistant director Bhaskar.
Comparison with Toilet Ek Prem Katha