Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Samantha is the ideal candidate to portray Shakuntala’s calm inner power, say Gunasekhar and Neelima.

Director Gunasekhar and producer Neelima Guna on how they tried to make ‘Shaakuntalam’ appeal to a contemporary audience

The film Shaakuntalam, starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, is described as “mythology for millennials” by producer Neelima Guna and her father, director Gunasekha. The father-daughter team from Hyderabad talk for an hour about how they tried to make Kalidasa’s Sanskrit play Abhijnanasakuntalam accessible to a modern audience while attempting to capture its spirit. On April 14, the Telugu movie will also be released in Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi.

One of the earliest film adaptations of Abhijnanasakuntalam, according to Gunasekhar, was the 1940 Tamil film Sakuntalai, directed by Ellis R. Dungan and starring M. S. Subbulakshmi in the title role. The latter adaptations included the Telugu film Sakunthala (1966), which starred NTR and Saroja Devi, and the Hindi films Shakuntala (1943) and Stree (1961), both by V Shantaram. Since the 1960s, there haven’t been many mythological dramas on television. People have recently started to express interest in historical and mythological tales once more. The earlier versions of Shakuntala’s tale had greater drama and some of the Sanskrit poetry was still present. For the younger generation, the drama has been toned down.Neelima concurs and adds that this way of thinking is supported by Shaakuntalam’s aesthetics, which include the dialogues, performances, production design, costumes, and colour scheme.

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