October 30, 2011 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
Journalist and filmmaker KNT Sastry has vivid memories of his childhood, he reminisces the story he read by Shivaram Karanth..Sarasammana Samadhi that won a Sahitya Akademi award. He recapitulates the lines by the author, "Present day women are burried in silk and gold and have forgotten they too have desires, they are being compensated."
Sastry has worked six months on this story to make a Kannada film set in the pre-independence era. While on one hand one sees the struggle for freedom in the country on the other the characters in the story are fighting for freedom in the house. It is about the Sati system and cunningness, hypocrisy in the society.
The director says it's surprising that in 1937 there was a novelist who wrote about women's emancipation. "Sunalini soon after her marriage finds her husband to be very unromantic, he cares only for her money. She is bold enough and seeks sexual gratification when she is in a mood.
Bhagirathi is another woman who faces subjugation on the first day of her marriage. Her father-in-law advises her husband to keep her in grip, the mother-in-law warns the son to be careful of the bride. She walks away to her parents home and refuses to come back; says if you wish you come and stay with me."
He adds, "Shafi plays an integral part of a journalist who is fascinated by spirits and ghosts. He is fickle but towards the end counseled by a woman, his mother to settle down with a woman (Sunalini) who is separated by her husband. The couple now visit Sarasammana Samadhi and Chandra takes a vow that he will be a friend and not a master."
But what is Sarasammana Samadhi and what prompts KNT Sastry to always make films based on women's issues? He avers that women are catalysts of the society, if there is no women there can't be any life. If women are facing a problem it is our responsibility to concentrate on them.
Sastry explains that there is a belief that marital problems will be solved by worshipping at a Samadhi and secretly floating a coconut in the Sarasammana tank. Sunalini also tries her luck by going to the Samadhi and Chandra happens to see her as he was there to explore facts about ghosts for his article.
The author had mentioned in his book that women in the society then paraded like a ghost like what one saw at the Sarasammana Samadhi. The script was written in Bengaluru Kannada but it was objected so the local Karavali dialect was used with the help of script writer Kasibhatla Venugopal from Kurnool.
Lakshmi Hegde plays Sunalini and Manasa plays Bhagirathi, Shafi is Hadavidi Chandrayya. The English title would be Three Lives And A Marriage though the original title is Sarasammana Samadhi. The 100 minutes film is based on four stories and the novel was written with an intention for transmission of episodical incidents for the radio.
The post-production is on, the sub titles are getting ready, the film would be ready for release by December. It is produced by Basanth Kumar Patil who made many films with Girish Kasaravalli. KNT Sastry acknowledges the subsidy granted for the making of the film and calls it a tribute to Shivaram Karanth.