Director Anup Kurian’s wait may finally end this September. For over six months, Kurian has been waiting for the right time to launch his new film, The Blueberry Hunt, that captures five harvesting days in the life of a recluse, who owns a plantation of a variant of marijuana in Kerala. “We started shooting in July last year and the film was ready for release in December. But the World Cup fever was at its peak so we decided to wait,” he says.
Ask him if the delay (the release shifted from August 26 to September 9) has anything to do with the controversial subject and Kurian retorts, “It would be controversial if I was talking about cocaine. It’s only our Victorian morals that have attached stigma to it. In fact, marijuana has a lot of positive effects and has been an intrinsic part of our culture.” But his wait has been fruitful.
Currently, Kurian and his team are busy dabbling with a graphic novel inspired by the film. On the film’s Facebook page, Kurian with illustrator Baburajan Muliyankeezhi have been uploading one-page-a-day of the novel, which they plan to compile in a book format. “I thought it would be interesting to see how two different stories can be told through two different mediums. So I wrote the screenplay for the film as well as the book,” says Kurian, who confesses being influenced by Alan Moore and Hayao Miyazaki. And while many graphic novels have inspired films in the past, The Blueberry Hunt upturns the oft-trodden path by going the other way.
“The book was evolved from the film, but we had to tweak the story of the novel for its format. It’s not a publicity stunt for the film, I want people to treat the two as different works of art. We even plan to launch an iPad version of it,” he says. The Hindi film swings between Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam and English and features Naseerudin Shah sporting dreadlocks. “I wanted to find a story to convince someone like Shah to act, and offer him something he hadn’t done before. The idea for the story came when I went to my ancestral estate in Vagamon.” “It’s 30 acres of untamed space. I was wondering what to do with it, whether to grow grass there and then came the idea for the film and the graphic novel,” he says.