A still from Puglya
A still from Puglya

Director Vinod Sam Peter gave up a lucrative career in the IT sector to pursue filmmaking. After working in a few short films, he decided to make his first full-length Marathi feature Puglya, under his banner Abraham Films.

The film has been screened at various international film competitions including the Moscow Film Festival, The Gladiator Film Festival in Turkey besides several others in London, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Philippines, Iran, the US and Canada. The movie has won several awards at various festivals across the world.

“I had just finished a Malayali film and was working to make another. In between I had some time and a friend suggested a story, which I thought was interesting. That is how Puglya happened. It revolves around children and dogs, two very difficult subjects to handle simultaneously,” said director, Vinod Sam Peter.

Vinod Sam Peter
Vinod Sam Peter

The film is chiefly made for children, a genre that happens to be quite neglected in our country. Apart from few mythological story driven content, there is hardly anything interesting made by Indian filmmakers on web streaming platforms, or otherwise. “It is true that not many films are made for children in India. Apart from a few exceptions like Taare Zameen Par and Stanley Ka Dabba no mainstream filmmaker actually dares to work on this subject. One reason could be that most directors are busy chasing stars or stardom through their films. I have two children and they have been watching the same shows over and over again on television and the web, for the last couple of years. There is hardly any new show for them,” he pointed out.

The film also deals with animals, especially the relationship children have with dogs. Vinod, however, is quite scared of dogs himself. “I am petrified of dogs and I have never had a pet. So, when we started shooting the film we brought in a couple of dog trainers, who helped me learn how to handle animals. One of the trainers happened to be a friend of mine and he was the one who walked me through the entire process. On a personal level, I am better with dogs now though I am still scared,” he quipped.

Though he is happy with the festival-run that his film has had, Vinod knows there is no possibility for a theatrical release for the film anytime soon. However, that does not daunt his spirit. As an independent filmmaker Vinod believes one has to be armed with a great script to find a footing in the industry. “I have gone through several challenges and it has been a roller coaster ride. There will be times when there will be no one to support you, but you have to stay true to the spirit of the film. A great script is the biggest advantage one can have as a filmmaker,” he added.

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