Based on a short story by K.T. Chikkanna, Chicken Curry (Koli Esru) is the story of a poor woman who undergoes tremendous sacrifices and difficulties just to provide her beloved ten-year-old daughter with the taste of chicken curry. Deprived of motherly love as a teenager, Huchheeri was married off to a drunkard by her stepmother, separated from her loving father and her idyllic village, forced to move into another village and do menial labour while caring for her ailing mother-in-law and growing daughter. When she learns of a chicken curry being prepared at the local Chieftain’s house, she cooks some rice in the hope of getting some of that chicken back to her daughter and finally fulfill her craving, providing her with the motherly love that she sorely missed as a child. Unfolding over the course of 24 hours, Huchheeri’s story reflects on the larger story of women’s struggles, past and present, to fight injustices and live a life of dignity despite patriarchal and societal pressures.
CHAMPA P. SHETTY’s journey as an artist began in 1991 as a practitioner of Kannada theatre. Since then, she has evolved as an actor and director under the guidance of accomplished theatre personalities. She also has a spectacular academic track record, having won the Gold Medal as a Master’s recipient in Performing Arts at Bangalore University. Her expressive voice has even made her a renowned dubbing artist, winner of the Best Dubbing Artist award at the Karnataka State Awards in 2008. Her debut film feature, Ammachi Yemba Nanpu (2018), received rave reviews from critics and public alike, winning the Best Cinematography Award at the 2018 Karnataka State Awards. Chicken Curry, her second feature, was part of the official selection at the 2022 New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) and the 2023 Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival (AIFF), where it garnered the Best Actress Award and a Special Jury Mention for Best Child Star. For Shetty, these awards reflect on her own personal experience because she was also recognized for playing Huchheeri 30 years ago. “The character stayed with me as it represented women’s unspoken struggles”, she told Shree D.N. of the Deccan Herald, further insisting on the importance of democratizing art films. “If we stop doing such films”, she adds, “only fight-dance formulas will prevail. I want to give good films to people.” Which is exactly what she does here.
scr.: Champa P. Shetty | cin.: Francis Rajkumar | ed.: Harish Komme | cost.: Geetha Surathkal, Bharathi D. Pai, Rekha Sreevatsa | art dir.: Harsha Cava | snd: Shreyank Nanjappa | mus.: Sangeeth Thomas, Jaipal Raj | cast: Akshatha Pandavpura, Apeksha Nagaraj Chornahalli, Natana Manju, Prakash Shetty, Dakshayani N. | prod.: Vanaja Vaman Rao, Sujatha Gopinath
Free parking during the screening.
$15 per ticket, plus H.S.T. ($1.95) & service fees.