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A star in the man’s domain

Indian film land is more dominated by men than women. A very few interested women film aspirants were seen working behind the screens. But there seems to be a change in the trend. A good number of women directors are coming forward to join the big league with some acclaimed movies. Our Sandalwood that boasts of only men directors is going through a sea change. Breaking all the barriers in the Kannada film Industry, Suman Kittur stands as a gutsy woman director who is creating ripples with her fresh storytelling skills. Here we present Suman who is unique and stands as an inspiration to many other girls.

She Kittur was born and brought up in a small town of Kittur in Mysuru district. Her childhood was the same as that of a village girl watching the colorful fairs and jathras amidst beautiful environment. She finished her primary and high school education in her village and from the childhood she was a very ardent reader. Books were her best companion when she was young. Though her father was a farmer, his interest was in owning a touring theatre in his village.

For suman, her father was everything. She always used to accompany him. Father’s ambition to own a theatre landed the family in trouble. Her father started to work in another theatre owned by his friend. There Suman used to watch a lot of films. She used to observe every film from the operator’s room, read a lot of reviews in newspapers at that young age and she was capable of judging a film. Suman never dreamt of being a filmmaker from childhood but her father’s passion for films, and working in theatre inspred her. Slowly but surely, she developed a keen interest in filmmaking.

Soon after her SSLC, she was sent to her aunt’s house in Madikeri to pursue her PUC. Though she went with an interest to enjoy the environment and have a good student life, the scene was different. She came across a few bitter incidents and she then landed in Bengaluru. From a very young age, she loved books on literature. Suman was introduced to Agni Sridhar which proved to be a turning point in her life. He taught her everything that life necessitated and filled courage in her. Knowing her abilities, he suggested and made her watch films of various genres and read books of various eminent authors. That’s when she got an opportunity to write biographies of three great personalities of Sandalwood. She wrote biographies of Dwarakish, Lokesh and Vajramuni. Meeting these legendary persons gave her a vast experience on filmmaking journey.

She later worked and designed in the critically acclaimed film Aa Dinagalu, she also penned lyrics for a song composed by music maestro Ilayaraja. She was the very first woman lyricist to pen lyrics for Ilayaraja’s music. Her career in the filmmaking started with Slum Bala and then Kallara Santhe starring Yash in the lead. She took people by surprise when she made Edegarike’, a story revolving round the underworld. This bold move gave her a huge success and the whole Indian film industry praised her for the movie. Suman has augmented day by day to taste the pinch of success and at present she has made a film based on a short story of legendary writer K P Poornachandra Tejaswi titled ‘Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu’. The film is all set to release on March 11. Like always, she has tried to portray the society through her relentless, uncompromising human emotions. From a small village called Kittur to whatever she is today, it has been a colourful journey for Suman.

How difficult is it for you to make movies based on novels?

I always try to engage myself in making movies that are close to real life incidents. These plots give a challenging atmosphere. As you know, I am an ardent fan of reading. This has made me believe that if I make films based on novels, it not only involves the audience but all provokes them think beyond what they see on the big screen. But making such films is not an easy task, we need to work and mould it into a filmy format and fill emotions in it. It pays to work in this direction.

When you look back, how do you feel your filmmaking journey is?

As I told you earlier, I never dreamt to be a filmmaker. It all started as I grew, but today cinema is my life. In my film making career, I had the taste of bitterness but chose to overcome it and now trying to do something better. We need to involve ourselves completely in a film. I believe that a cinema is something we conceive and once it is delivered, it is in the hands of the audience.

How challenging is it for a woman to direct a film or work for a film?

Direction is always a pretty difficult job and when it comes to women, it demands tremendous energy and requires a huge responsibility. We need to develop an instinctive feeling and it makes a lot of sense. The thinking capability, filmmaking knowledge, instant decisions are important. More than that, marketing our own film is the toughest challenge for a woman director.

Your Inspiration?

The two people who always inspire me a lot are my father and Agni Sridhar. They always inspire me.

Your favorite filmmakers?

The list is big. I like filmmakers like Siddalingaiah, Puttanna Kanagal, Lakshmi Narayana and many more.

Your message to young filmmakers?

(Laughs) I myself is an aspirant filmmaker but I like to say if you are really serious about film field then go ahead and fulfill the passion.  There’s so much to learn and unlearn as well. Learn the basics, stay focused and read, read and read a lot to develop thinking capabilities.

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