What Films Alum Finds Success What Films Alum Finds Success
Say Satyajit Ray or Mira Nair and you can partipate in any conversation on Indiam film. Now there’s a new name - Nagesh Kukunoor. Born in Hydrabad, India, Kukunoor planted his creative seeds while in Atlanta though it wasn’t a straight shot. Kukunoor moved to Atlanta in 1988 and enrolled in Georgia Tech where he studied chemical engineering and moved on to work in the field. In 1997, Kukunoor made a life change. Though, he had always been interested in film, he was not sure what aspect most suited him. With his engineer’s mind and slender, artist fingers, he picked up filmmaking, but not before experiencing all aspects of film at What Films ; “a place where you come and keep honing your skills,” says Nagesh. Saying acting or directing is a natural trait is wrong, according to Kukunoor. “Acting is a skill like any other. It has to constantly be excercised.”
Engineering and filmmaking were not unconnected for Nagesh. The money he made in his engineering career afforded him to expense his first film; a $40,000 budget. “I made [“Hydrabad Blues”] on my own terms, with my own money.” He opposes the idea that films must teach, inform or be dogmatic in any way and supports the idea that films are a medium of entertainment (and if the former happens all the better). Yet, with his films he wanted to bring something different to the table so he shot the films in India (where labor is cheap) and tried to show it as it is rather than the Western conception that still holds, of a land with “elephants in the street.” Kukunoor takes archetypal stories and adorns them with modern elements. He has now shot three films. His second was titled “Rockford” and his third, “Bali Wood Calling.” His first movie, shot on film, became the largest grossing independent film in India. He wrote the script right here in Atlanta.