Noted writer Baraguru Ramachandrappa is behind the camera again, this time interpreting the 13th century Jain poem Yashodhara Charite for contemporary cinema. The film, titled Amrutamati, will be told from the perspective of the eponymous protagonist, who falls for an ugly horse trainer Ashtavanka and not prince Yashodhara.
The film is in post-production and he is planning for a release early next year. Leading actors Haripriya and Kishore essay the roles of Amrutamati and Yashodhara, respectively.
The story has had its roots in Jain mythology and told in Prakrit and Sanskrit before Janna wrote Yashodhara Charite in Kannada.
There has been a long tradition of reinterpreting the story. Noted playwright Girish Karnad's play Hittina Hunja/Bali was based on the same story, told from the perspective of Ashtavanka.
In Yashodhara Charite, Amrutamati listens to a song the horse trainer sings in the stable next to the princesss private quarters and falls in love.
I have tried to create a context for this attraction. In my film, the princess feels imprisoned in the palace. The folk song she falls for is a metaphor for the ordinary people and her longing to be with the people, Dr. Ramachandrappa said.
The film attempts to deal with the nuanced interplay of binaries bhoga (indulgence) and sukha (happiness), jana (people) and prabhutva (the State), and freedom and confinement all through the eyes of Amrutamati, he added. Deviating from the original text, the film ends with them realising the futility of violence, he said.
It was a challenge to shoot a period film, says the director.
The film has been shot on mounted sets and at Shivappa Nayaka palace in Shivamogga. The film is produced by Puttanna, an MLC who was recently expelled from the JD(S).