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Whatever is in your mind, will go into the tape,” says Rajesh. The lead protagonist of the short film Ika, he lives in a slum in Bangalore and wants to make a film “like a boss”. So, with the impossible confidence of childhood, Rajesh creates a camera from a cardboard box, a magnifying glass and a blank tape. He then convinces his friend Prashant to create a detective film about a chicken who was chased away by their friend’s dog. Ika, with its endearing storyline, has been winning over audiences at Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles among others since 2012. Now, Bangalore-based director Raam Reddy is getting ready to screen it at Raindance Film Festival in London on October 4. The festival is considered UK’s largest indie gathering and will screen 100 feature films and more than 150 short films.
In the film, Rajesh and Prashant search for a missing chicken, interviewing people on the way. Their only clue is a feather they find on the road. Ika, which means “feather” in Telugu, was possibly born while Reddy was still in college. “While I was studying economics at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, in 2009, I would sit in the back, writing or sketching, and that is when the idea of the film came to me,” he says. Reddy is also a photographer and writer — his first novel It’s Raining in Maya was published in 2012. He went to film school in Prague but Ika was shot before that, over 14 days, in 2011.
With no script, a two-member crew and a sketchy plot, Reddy and his partner Ere Gowda had set out with one motive — to cast Rajesh Y, who was Reddy’s friend from school. “The other kids in the film are from a school my mother started. We all developed the story together,” he says. “To get an idea, you need imagination. That’s how you make a film,” Rajesh tells Prashant, egging him to continue with their pursuit. Rajesh, who is now a 17-year-old college student, is the clear star of the film. “There was a scene for which we ended up taking 63 takes of 45 seconds each. He patiently sat through all my ideas,” says Reddy.
“The film was made at a low budget, with virtually no agenda,” says the director. Its unassuming cast included an old man (the