Follower, a Marathi/ Kannada feature film from debutant writer/ director Harshad Nalawade and from independent film powerhouse, HumaraMovie, premiered at the prestigious 52nd International Film Festival Rotterdam. It received rave reviews and progressively ran to packed screenings.
The debut film by Harshad encapsulates the fight between Belgaum’s main linguistic groups- Kannada and Marathi through the lens of Raghu, a radicalized journalist. Follower is a nuanced story of a brainwashed youth belonging to a marginalized community and by digging deeper in his story, attempts to explore a world infected with hate, propagated by misinformation about each other. The film beautifully navigates through personal differences of characters and creates a microcosm of a larger society that is consumed with the mindset of ‘US vs THEM’.
The film is produced by HumaraMovie in association with Causality Films and stars Raghu Prakash, Donna Munshi and Harshad Nalawade. Follower had earlier been a part of the NFDC Film Bazaar WIP Lab, 2021 and Film Bazaar ‘Goes To Cannes’, 2022 where it was also very well received.
Post an IFFR screening, an elated Harshad Nalawade , “Our hard work paid off. I did not set out to prove a point or make any scathing remarks on any community or political ideologies. It is a human drama of how circumstances can play upon your psyche and how it shapes you as a person and the choices you make. Our personal and work environment have a bearing on our personalities and escaping that is always a challenge. As social beings we are all exposed to various partisan opinions and bombarded with content these days, somebody with a career in news is anyway living in the eye of the storm, so turning a blind eye to what is otherwise an urban ennui to others may not be a choice for him.”
Harshad is from Belgaum- where the story is based. The characters are real and the ongoing tensions in Belgaum suggest that this engrossing tale is coming alive. Taking inspiration from the director’s experiences of growing up in a linguistically marginalized community of the border city, Follower was conceived in 2018 after he had directed and written various short films. For Follower, Harshad raised funds through crowdfunding and eventually got selected in the NFDC Film Bazaar Work-in-Progress Lab, 2021. Follower premiered at the 52nd International Film Festival of Rotterdam as part of the festival’s Focus: The Shape of Things to Come Segment.