Dr. G. Prabha, director of Ishti (Sanskrit), is a very soft spoken and humble guy. His debut directorial offering Ishti was the opening film of the Indian Panorama in the feature film section of the IFFI Goa 2016. By profession he is a retired Sanskrit professor, and former head of the oriental languages department at Loyola College, until he decided to be a filmmaker and directed two documentaries.
Why did you decide to make your directorial debut with a film in Sanskrit, though you are a South Indian?
Right from the beginning I was very fascinated by Sanskrit . I am also a retired Sanskrit Professor. I decided to make my debut as a director with Ishti, a film in Sanskrit . Earlier, the films that were made in this particular language were all biopics or devotional. Ishti is the first ever Sanskrit language film based on a social issue which is prevalent even in today’s time.
What is your film Ishti all about?
Ishti is set in the background of the mid 20’s of Kerala. In this particular time frame dynamic young Namboothri Brahmins successfully challenged the so called unwanted traditions of their own community. The tradition prevalent in those days allowed the eldest male member of the family, the sole control of family property and the women folk were also denied the rights of normal education. One may feel that the film has a feminist angle. I have also touched upon the issue of an illicit relationship, which happens because a 70 year old man marries a 17 year old girl who happens to be his 3rd or 4th wife. The son of the first wife has an illicit relationship with his step mother. I have witenessed such an incident. It is mainly because I keep seeing the gender inequality in our country I decided to study the characters of the young girls who wanted to improve their lives mainly through education and woman’s empowerment. One of my female protagonists also leaves the family house and revolts very strongly against this tradition.
What was your reaction when you heard of Ishti being included in the Indian Panorama package?
To be very honest I was shocked and surprised to know that Ishti is not only a part of the Indian Panorama but also has been included in the competition section.
I am waiting for a producer to make my next film.
by Shaheen Raaj