Private Project

KATHA VACHAK (Storyteller)

Harihar is a common male Indian name. 'Hari-Hara' is a composite Sanskrit term meaning a coming together of Shiva-Vishnu's energies, Shiva and Vishnu being two male gods. In the film, a young man, Harihar, gets dragged to an event by his mother where he finds a storyteller, telling the story of god, Shiva's conflict with a demon who gains a powerful boon from the god that backfires. As the popular mythical story goes, god Shiva is saved from the demon by the helpful intervention of a trickster male god, Vishnu. The South-Indian version of the story goes on further to narrate the resulting romance of the two gods and the birth of their offspring, the god Ayappa (also named Hari-Hara). As Harihar listens to the story, repressed adolescent desires surface as he finds an affirmative voice within his tradition and cultural milieu, which (he previously may have felt) had shunned him. He comes to terms with his own self and comes out regarding his sexuality.

  • DEEPAK SRINIVASAN
    Director
  • DEEPAK SRINIVASAN
    Writer
  • COSMICLOUD PRODUCTIONS
    Producer
  • Sachin Sreenath
    Key Cast
    "HARIHAR"
  • Deepak Srinivasan
    Key Cast
    "Storyteller "
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    23 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    India
  • Country of Filming:
    India
  • Language:
    English, Hindi, Kannada
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16.9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Archives, Museums and Liibraries Conference, Berlin
    Berlin
    Germany
    June 28, 2019
  • Bangalore Queer Film Festival
    Bangalore
    India
    July 6, 2019
Director Biography - DEEPAK SRINIVASAN

Deepak Srinivasan is a Bangalore-based performer, storyteller, designer and educator with 15 years of practice in performing arts, radio, film, community media, design and pedagogy. After a BSc and MS in earth and life sciences, Deepak's interests shifted to media, art & design as methods for trans-disciplinary inquiry. Deepak has trained in performing arts and community theatre with prominent Indian theatre practitioners (2005-2008).
His work in community theatre has spanned many youth groups and other special communities such as street-based sex-workers. His interests include gender, ecology, creative education design, urban space design, knowledge system practices, modernity and its intersections with historic process, oral histories and collective memory.
Deepak's formal work experience spans his time as content and programming resource with Worldspace satellite radio (2007-2009), art & media program coordinator at Maraa, a Bangalore based media collective (2008-2010), art & design Faculty at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore (2009-2015) and as Independent design lead and Consultant in various projects for the past 10 years. Deepak has collaboratively developed pedagogical projects with international institutions such as the School of Arts, Culture and Communications, Malmo University. Sweden (2011-2014) and Center for Engineering in Society, Concordia University, Canada (2013-2014). He was an invited program readings contributor and co-facilitator for overseas student program for California College of Arts, USA (2018).
Deepak presently has his own Design Practice and is now attempting to develop his work with performance, community media and design

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Director Statement

Narratives of South Asian mythology present unusual gender metamorphoses and allow for romantic emergences between same-sex and trans-gender couples. Many of these stories have plural variations in different oral cultures within the country. They also get told in mainstream religious and cultural contexts, and get publicly accepted, despite a dominant homophobic public culture. Ruth Vanita, Saleem Kidwai and many other writers and researchers have painstakingly and sensitively traced and documented Hindu mythical narratives and pop media writers like Devdutt Patnaik and others have been writing and sharing their views on gender and sexual transformations in such narratives. After many years of legal twists and turns, in 2018, the Supreme Court of India, finally granted legal rights to LGBTQ individuals despite a growing religious right-wing, public and political movement to curb liberal leftism of all sorts. Within such right-wing activity, a strong urge to recast and sterilise plural mythico-religious narratives has emerged, attacking artistic, scholarly or literary attempts over the past decade, and these waves of conflict affect queer identity and expression as well. My short fiction film, Katha Vachak, was initially written playfully, to reclaim romantic and innocent coming-of-age moments, often forgotten within 'hard radical' queer politics and queer-art production. After making it, it seems a more poignant contribution to India's queer visual motion archive, given India's socio-political scenario with mythology, religion, politics and their impact on queer issues in India.