tv & movies

Three girls, a man and a dingy building

The sets of Karky creeped us out, and it had all the makings of a thriller film — dark rooms, dim lights, and a hero with an unwavering stare

We’re told that a Kannada film Karky is being shot in a run down mill — the crew requests us to not reveal the location, as they want to keep it secret. A long and narrow muddy trail leads to the location.

Once there, abandoned buildings with broken roofs, and peeling wall paint, greet us. The rooms are all dark, and we immediately get the chills. The location looks perfect for a horror film or a crime thriller.

We reach the building where the shoot is in progress. It is a huge dimly-lit room, totally bare, except for an old leather sofa in the centre. The space is stuffy as the windows are sealed.

Three girls, a man and a dingy building

Members of the film crew are busy covering an old table with fresh paint. Cinematographer Jitin Das and director Lokesh Prabhu are seriously discussing a scene on the other side.

Jitin, who hails from Kerala, is making his debut as a cinematographer with this film. Meanwhile, the cast — which includes the protagonist, Roger Narayan, and the three leading ladies, Pavana Gowda, Rihanshi Gowda and Aishwarya Gowda, are being attended to by the touch-up person. The humidity is evidently getting to them: each of them has a tiny fan in their hands, blowing air onto their faces.

Three girls, a man and a dingy building

A call comes from the director, speaking into the microphone, asking the artistes to take their positions, and everyone scurries. We, too, move away and observe things from a corner.

Get creeped out

There is absolute silence on the floor. A large door creaks open, and a faint ray of light spills into the room. The three heroines walk in, curiously looking around the space.

Pavana, who has a camera in her hand, is taking pictures of the dingy hall, as the other two walk behind her.

In comes Roger. He has a duffel bag in his hand, and paces his steps slowly as he stares at the women, and shuts the large door behind him.

The girls, seemingly unaware of his actions, are walking towards the sofa in the centre of the room.

Three girls, a man and a dingy building

The dim lights are turned on, and behold… Roger is there, right by the painted table, continuing to stare at the women in a chillingly creepy manner. There are no dialogues spoken… just the cold, unwavering stare!

The director yells “cut” into the microphone, and, immediately, the artistes rush out of the camera frame to catch some fresh air.

The same scene is later shot from four different angles, including close-up shots which capture the artistes’ expressions.

Murder in the morning

The production team offer to take us on a guided tour of the sets. We walk through a long, dark corridor, and reach another dingy room. It has a pit in the middle, and a secret passage on one side of the wall.

We look down into the pit, and there’s blood! “That’s just paint made to look like blood stains. We shot a murder scene here in the morning,” reveals RS Kumar, one of the producers.

He adds that only 25% of the film’s shoot is complete, but that it won’t have any song sequences. “It will be an experimental kind of commercial cinema,” says Kumar. We head back to the main room, where the actors are once again getting their makeup touched up. The lights come on, and the space feels even warmer than before.

Adventurous day

The male lead, Roger Narayan, who has acted in U Turn and Humble Politician Nograj among others, says Karky is a psychological thriller, and “the anti-thesis of modern day lifestyle”. “When I heard the story, I was thrilled that I could play this character. The set up and the tone is dark, and eerie. And strangely, this character lives in this house. The audience will be exposed to a very different world,” he adds.

One of the lead females, Pavana Gowda, says that filming in this set was like an adventure. “We are shooting a scene, where my character comes with the hero into this dingy house, and the story then takes off…” she says, adding, “I play a strong willed girl who does not buckle under pressure.”

Three girls, a man and a dingy building

But it is Prabhu, the director, who appears to be an anti-thesis. He says he never liked cinema. Which explains why he is surprised that he has written the story and screenplay for Karky, and is also directing it.

“My love for cinema started in my college days when I began capturing my thoughts on paper,” he says, adding “One day, I realised that it could be developed into a story.”

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