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A sanitation worker dreams of becoming a lawyer to fight for her and her fellow workers’ rights; a mother dreams of sharing her secrets and struggles with her child; a woman rehearses to prepare for a difficult conversation with her boyfriend…

Kathi, Kathi, Kaarana is an anthology of ‘true fiction’, narrated and produced by the workers and their families from the city of Bangalore.

The film marks the culmination of a pedagogical experiment — a weekend film school that explored that language of storytelling, wellbeing and mental health, and the birth of an artist collective.

  • Varun Kurtkoti
  • Anita Anthonamma
  • Balraj
  • Deepa
  • Chandra Shree
  • Preethi
  • Shanmugam Sunsoni
  • Varun Kurtkoti
  • Faith Gonsalves
  • Fiza Jha
  • Quicksand Studio
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Unbox Cultural Festival
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Kathi Kathi Kaarana
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    True fiction, creative documentary
  • Runtime:
    37 minutes 6 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 22, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Kannada, Tamil
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Mindscapes International Summit
    March 19, 2023
    Bangalore Premiere
Director Biography - Varun Kurtkoti

Varun Kurtkoti is an interdisciplinary artist from Dharwad, Karnataka. Apart from filmmaking, Varun's practice currently focuses on designing film and sound pedagogies. In 2021 he received the Engagemedia - Techtales fellowship for the animation film, Appa and his Invisible Mundu. The film is being screened at multiple festivals and conferences. He is the co-recipient of the ‘Refunction’ digital production grant awarded by Goethe Institute (2020). He received a National Geographic Young Explorer fellowship (2017) for work with storytellers and sufi musicians in Kutch. He received a PSBT-Doordarshan Film fellowship (2018), for his non-fiction film Door/Home. Door/Home premiered on Doordarshan’s Open Frame programme, and subsequently has been showcased in numerous film festivals. Varun graduated with MA (distinction) in Applied Anthropology and Community Art at Goldsmiths University, London (2019-21). Varun has also taught at Azim Premji University, Bangalore (2021), and Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore (2045-18).

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Director Statement

NOTE: Since this film is a result of a workers' film school, The film's creation credits are shared by all participants along with the facilitator/director.

This film is an expression of the many emotional states that the laborers across the city have to deal with on an everyday basis. Therefore I would be wrong to claim that I directed the film. Rather, I directed a cinematic space wherein the participants held the power to present their experiences in honest yet creative ways.
Having worked with documentary filmmaking, I have witnessed an expectation for non-fiction films to show the world as is, and reflect on its situations.. In ‘framing’ real life, we filmmakers harness the power to build realities as per specific contexts. Moreover, such framed realities tend to situate truths in that which is recorded, leaving out that which isn’t. However ethical the filmmaker may be, they are yet creating narrative versions of people. Kathi Kathi Kaarana is the start of an effort to invert this phenomenon. As a film project that reflects on the mental health of informal sector workers in India, Kathi Kathi… blends fiction and creative documentary to provide insights on what it means to be a parent, a spouse, a parent, a home…