In his upcoming début film, Senapura, Guru Savan has threaded together tales of oppression and pain into something he hopes will bear the fruit of 16 years of labour in cinema
Guru Savan makes his directorial début with the Kannada movie Senapura, which is set to hit the theatres in March and which has playback singer Ananya Bhat (who sang popular numbers from KGF: Chapter 1 like ‘Dheera Dheera’ and ‘Gardabdhi’) in the lead. The cast includes actors such as Pavan Kumar, Dinesh Mangaluru, Parameshwar Guruswamy, Giriraj BM and Girish Gowda among others.
Guru, who has also written the story, says Senapura is based on an incident in the Karavali region of coastal Karnataka. “Dealing with manganese theft, the film explores how local leaders exploited the people. When a train stops at a station in a particular village, it becomes a point of oppression for the villagers. It has a strong message — what happens when hunger pangs hit and one hardship after another befalls you,” says Guru.
Before making his début feature, the 34-year-old Guru taught dance and zumba to keep the home fires burning. “Dance was my bread and butter, and cinema was my passion. I conducted dance classes in Marathahalli. I entered the film industry with ₹700 in my pocket. My journey started as a junior artiste, then a clap boy and an assistant. It is from those 16 years of struggle that Senapura was born. Hunger can create stories and history,” he adds.
Initially pitched as a web series, Guru says he walked out when the investors asked him to sell them the story. “I decided to make the film with all that I had,” he says, adding that he invested his life savings and also borrowed money from his friends to complete the film.
His next venture is a bilingual with Pankaj Mishra. The film is titled Gangs of Malgudi in Hindi and No Parking in front of the Gate in Kannada. Explaining the Kannada title, Guru says, “The film is about one’s struggles in the industry and the message is not to park their negativity and quash creativity.”