Late Om Puri's film to be screened at biennale

One of the final films of late Om Puri will make its Kerala premiere at the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) on Tuesday.

'A Million Rivers' will be screened in tribute to the cinema icon, who died last month, KMB officials said today.

The 2016 film will be shown in a special package, titled 'Cinema from the Sub-continent', on February 7.

The package, conceptualised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, will be screened intermittently throughout the Biennale as part of the Foundation s 'Artists Cinema' programme.

In the film, Puri and actor-theatre personality Lillete Dubey enact the roles of a married couple whose relationship looks to be falling apart.

"Puri's character is confronted with his mortality and, in this state of mind, chooses not to return to his wife, drifting instead into a kind of fantasy land," a KMB release said.

"Om Puri seemed to work intuitively without labouring over the back story as a way to define the persona. His scenes are at times absurd, dark, thoughtful, and mostly fluctuating between that dream versus reality space as his character starts to split apart mentally and emotionally," said director Sarah Singh, whose 2007 documentary on Partition, 'The Sky Below', was widely acclaimed.

A Million Rivers is her debut feature.

She "never really had to direct him," Singh said. "He didn't really read the script, and would ask for a bit of scene description right before we would film a scene."

"When he had heard enough, he would raise his hand, gesturing "Okay, I understand."

"In the very first take, his body language and eyes portrayed everything I was asking for and much more. I just had to create a kind of environment that suggested a certain psychological space," Singh said.
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