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From Russia,with Love

FTII student Sandhya Daisy Sundaram’s film Love.Love.Love.,which explores the concept of love among Russian women,has been selected for the short documentary competition at Sundance Film Festival

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: December 22, 2013 5:53:12 am

A vast,barren,snow-covered landscape is the canvas for an unlikely subject — love. Here,travelling in a train,looking at people,houses and buildings through the lens of a video camera,FTII student Sandhya Daisy Sundaram and her team travelled across Russia.

Sundaram’s documentary titled Love.Love.Love. traces the common Russian woman and her idea of love. “The documentary is a melange of conversations with women we met — be it through radio interviews,Skype calls or personal interviews in remote villages,” she says. The film has now been selected for the short documentary competition at Sundance Film Festival 2014.

Sundaram travelled to cities,villages and remote locations by train to explore the common tale of love. “We have interviewed young ballerinas and 101-year-old babushkas,” she says. “The film borders between documentary and fiction — you can call it a ‘creative documentary’,” she says,adding that the main themes throughout the 10-minute documentary are sacrifice,strength,family and


Ask her if she faced any language problems during the shooting,Sundaram says,“Of course. It would have been really difficult had my director of photography (DoP) Alexey,not been there. He doubled as a DoP and translator.”

The team was made up of filmmakers and students from across the world — Alexey Filippov (Russian),sound designer Marcin Knyziack (Polish),producers Tanya Petrik (Russian) and Guillaume Protsenko (French) and Sundaram,the director and editor. “For over a month,we all travelled in the harsh winter,shooting and editing on-the-go,” she says.

Talking about her experiences in Russia,Sundaram says,“I was surprised by their knowledge about India and its culture. This one time,during one of our rare night-outs,I came across a 60-70-year-old bouncer at a local nightclub. She was very interested in me because I was an Indian. After a while,she told me she had an abusive husband and that to find some escape,she would watch Bollywood films all day long. That,apparently,gave her a lot of courage and hope,” she says,adding that the other thing she noticed was that the Russians are big fans

of the Hindi film song,

Jimmy jimmy jimmy aaja

(from Disco Dancer).

Love.Love.Love. was part of a programme titled Cinetrain,where filmmakers from across the globe set out to make documentaries while travelling in trains across Russia. Started in 2008,the idea is to employ this unique working method that was invented by Russian documentary filmmakers in the ’30s. Teams have to shoot and edit short documentary novels on a given theme.

The film has been selected for other festivals,such as Baghdad International and Hangzhou Asia Film Festivals. Currently,Sundaram is working on her diploma film at the FTII,which revolves around a musician travelling in the Konkan


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