Singapore Director Makes World’s First Film To Feature Eight Indian Languages, ‘Kathaah@8’

29 August 2019


Singapore Director Makes World’s First Film To Feature Eight Indian Languages, ‘Kathaah@8’

Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu and Tamil – these will be the eight different Indian languages featured in Singaporean filmmaker Shilpa Krishnan Shukla’s film Kathaah@8.

An anthology of eight different stories all set at 8pm, Kathaah@8 was shot in Singapore and boasts the debut of 18 Singapore-based actors. And it was because of all these first-time actors that the film ended up featuring such a diverse range of Indian languages.

Shilpa, who first came to Singapore from Kerala in 1998 on a scholarship to study at Raffles Junior College, told CNA Lifestyle that she recruited her actors via an open call on Facebook and grouped them based on the languages they could speak.

“Then I wrote custom scripts for each team. That’s how the choice of the eight Indian languages was made – based on the actors and the languages they could speak.” said Shilpa, who believes it’s the only film in the world to feature the eight languages prominently.

For Shilpa, who enjoys casting her friends and families in her films, there really isn’t a big difference whether her actors are experienced or amateurs.

“What was lucky for me was that every single actor in Kathaah@8 was more than happy to bend over backwards for the project – we had a large number of rehearsals and a large number of takes and everyone gave their best.”

She explained that her casting process was very simple. “Either I cast my friends or I cast strangers and make them my friends,” she said with a laugh. “In the case of Kathaah@8, it was the latter mostly, since the folks within my friends pool spoke limited languages!”

Shilpa reckoned the Singapore independent film industry has been picking up over the years and pointed out “the rising involvement of South Asian filmmakers within Singapore”.

Kathaah@8 simply gives the perspective that at any point in time, different people or different families will be going through a variety of different situations,” she said. 

“That awareness that when you are having a good day someone else might be having a bad day… or when you are having a bad day, someone else might be having a worse day, may help us see and appreciate the world differently.”

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Photo credit: CNA

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