Soul Cages – A Short Film Looking at the Equilibrium between Life and Death

The much-anticipated short film “Soul Cages,” starring celebrated danseuse Savitha Sastry and written and directed by AK Srikanth, is set to premiere on April 6, 2024. The film explores the delicate balance between life and death, weaving a story that is philosophically rich, extremely moving, and yet at the same time easy to understand. The film promises to further build on the cult status of its stage show version, aiming to extend the narratives reach into new realms of intensity.

Savitha Sastry in Soul Cages

Besides Savitha, the film also features the acclaimed actor Rupesh Tillu, known for his roles in “Ship of Theseus” and “Ophelia,” in a never-before-seen avatar. The film is being praised for its stunning visuals and emotional depth and is expected to captivate the audiences with its unique blend of storytelling and visual artistry.

In 2012, Bharatanatyam danseuse Savitha Sastry and her writer husband AK Srikanth stunned the world of classical Indian dance with their thematic presentation ‘Soul Cages’. The stage presentation was the outcome of an attempt to use classical dance to tell a novel story not based on religion or mythology, and therefore evangelize the art form amongst the uninitiated and the disinterested. While the couple had embarked on this project in true ‘do or-die’ fashion, with a resolution that if this didn’t work, they would go back to their lives and give up art – it ended up changing their life; the show was an astounding hit which went on to play in 150 venues across 14 countries.

Over the last 12 years, the couple has moved far ahead with no less than fourteen productions to their name – mostly in the arena of short films with a strong base of Bharatanatyam as the subtext. While they have explored intense subjects in their earlier films like ‘Slow Rivers’ (with thespian Ashish Vidyarthi) and ‘Ghost of the Lighthouse’ (also starring Jamie Alter), one project that they did not revisit was the one that started it all – Soul Cages. “That is because it was difficult to bring as a concept to film explains writer Srikanth. “On stage, Savitha played all the characters, against a bare stage, and the unfolding of the drama had the audiences become a part of what they could not see but imagine. But on screen, it was a different ball game altogether”. But when it did get written, it was a different story from the one presented in 2012, but with an identical theme and core.

According to Savitha Sastry, “The 2012 stage production was considered a landmark in the history of Bharatanatyam by critics and ‘vidwans’. This presentation on film is a different story, but connected to the original by an umbilical. It is a sense of deja vu for us.”

The production will be released on Savitha Sastry’s YouTube channel on April 6, 2024.



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