It got stronger after her death: Filmmaker Pradeep KP on Gauri Lankesh ‘voice’

Bengaluru: She may have been a fierce activist-journalist for many but Gauri Lankesh was a dear friend for filmmaker Pradeep KP, who has made a documentary on the slain editor.

Pradeep said he was left numb when he received the news of Lankesh’s murder on the night of September 5 but he did not want to make a documentary. He changed his mind when he saw people come out in her support.

“I didn’t want to do it. My crew had started shooting when they reached Gauri’s home after the news broke out. The next day when I entered the social media space, I saw this hatred for her from people who didn’t even know her,” Pradeep said.

“But when I saw, scores of people coming forward in protests for Gauri, I thought I should make the film,” he said while addressing a full-house screening of “Our Gauri” at the 10th BIFFES on Wednesday evening.

The film, which begins with people protesting against the killing and is then interspersed with interviews of people close to Lankesh both personally and professionally, was showcased under the ‘Resistance’ section along with five other presentations.

The director said the team dug out shots from a footage of 700 hours and shot for 22 days, non-stop.

“Whatever she stood for, the voice, got stronger after her death,” he said.

Pradeep, who was Lankesh’s friend for over 16 years and was a part of her campaigns and travels, believes there is still a lot that is left unsaid and he hopes to make a bigger film eventually.

“I still have a lot to say and there was a need to slow down the pace of the film at some places. At that time, I had to bring this out. In two years time, I’ll do a larger film on her entire travels over the years in Karnataka. There is so much footage that I haven’t even used in this documentary. But I need time for that,” he said.

Pradeep also said that Gauri Lankesh Patrike is going to continue as people trust the newspaper’s voice.

“We are thinking of March 8 as the launch date. We still haven’t got the final confirmation on the title. It will definitely come out before Karnataka Assembly elections as the paper played a major role in state politics. We can’t stop that legacy. There’s a trust that’s been formed,” he further added.

Other documentaries shown in the section were “Qandeel”, on Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch who was strangulated to death by her brother for ‘bringing dishonour’ to the family and Indian film, “I am Bonnie” on an ace footballer Bonnie Paul, formerly known as Bandana Paul and his struggle to live with dignity in the society.

As an experiment, short fiction and silent films were also shown, which included “Mr Fazili’s wife” by Hassan Fazili and “Screaming Silence” by Fatima Hussaini from Afghanistan.

Fazili could not be at the festival as he fled Afghanistan in 2016 to Serbia after the Taliban threatened him with death over one of his movies. Both the films were represented by filmmaker Hassan Moosavi.