Aghanashini is a unique river due to two aspects. Firstly, it still flows along its natural course that has remained unchanged since thousands of years, due to the absence of any dams. Secondly, since it does not have any industries along its course, its water is pure throughout the year. In an era where development is the mantra that everyone is chanting, India still holds a river that has been left almost untouched! Aghanashini stands testimony to how a river can nurture the life of humans and other living beings along its path, if left flowing free.
The making of the film began in September 2015, and took the team about two years. The film has two versions: English and Kannada. The English version premiered on 06 August 2017 in Bangalore, while the Kannada version premiered on 02 September 2017 in Sirsi, the birthplace of the river.
The film is partly funded by crowd-funding and partly from the grant by Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies. The project was not possible without the guidance and help from Balachandra Hegde Sayimane, Dr. MD Subhash Chandran, Dr. Santhosh Kumar, Dr. Gururaja KV, Nagesh Hegde, Vijay Mohan Raj IFS, Rohini Nilekani and Gautam John.
Until now, there have been more than 100 screenings of the film across various schools along the river basin, and public screenings across Karnataka and other states in India. At the time of writing this article, the film had also been screened in more than 18 countries across the world, in over 25 film festivals.
About the filmmakers:
Ashwini Kumar Bhat has been a nature photographer for over ten years, with his images winning several awards and gaining recognition in national and international magazines and books. He is a founding member of ‘Landscape Wizards’, a team of photographers and filmmakers focusing on popularising landscape photography in India. This is Ashwini’s maiden feature documentary.
Sahana Balkal is a state government bureaucrat, nature photographer, videography enthusiast, and an expert planner. She handled the entire planning of this project. She is also the voice of Aghanashini in the Kannada version of the film.
Sriharsha Ganjam is an avid nature photographer and stargazer. A founding member of ‘Landscape Wizards’, he has started a series called ‘Unseen Landscape’, which is a short documentary series about India’s unseen landscapes.
Sunil Hegde is the drone expert of the team and an integral part of the cinematography of this film. He lives in Sirsi and has vast experience in professional photography and videography.