Katha Sangama, an anthology of seven short films, backed by Rishab Shetty is now entering its third week. Despite powerful performances, the film has failed to get an overwhelming response from the audience.
The anthology is a new concept. Especially to Kannada Cinema. Barring the exception of Puttanna Kanagal’s film of the same name, we barely remember any. Globally, too, it is a format that is attempted a very few times. In this aspect alone, Katha Sangama was a brave attempt.
The idea of bringing together seven directors, seven cinematographers, and seven music directors and giving them a platform is a noble one. Since its inception, it always was supposed to cater to a niche audience.
The film had seven short films each by Rahul PK, Jai Shankar, Chandrajith, Kiran Raj, Manoj, Shahi Kumar, and Karan Ananth. Each short had a different story, different themes, different sets of actors and different feel altogether.
Normally, in an anthology, all the short films are bounded by a common theme, plot or character which makes it easy for the audience to stay engaged. Katha Sangama and the team behind it went in by negating all these factors. Perhaps that dented the experience. The response for the film isn’t a unanimous one which is a case with most of the films.
The response is in bits and pieces. People have liked few shorts and disliked few. Overall, it is mixed. One of the main reasons might have been the short films themselves.
A sentiment that ran through the general audience is that they failed to stay with the film for long. This, as we discussed, might have to do with the lack of theme. The audience wasn’t ready to witness the rapid change of story, geography and the tone. Though it was deliberately marketed as an anthology, not many knew what it exactly meant.
Since the target audience was the ones who rigorously watch world cinema, most of the shorts felt repetitive barring Lacchavva directed by Jai Shankar.
There is also a section that advocated for the direct release of streaming. Of course, it is an after-thought. The failure of Katha Sangama has to do with a lot of factors. The lack of exposure of the audience to world cinema, lack of pointed marketing and also, the content itself.
It will take a lot of effort like Katha Sangama to make films like that to be successful. We are hopeful. We hope the filmmakers are too.