A Stunning Short Film Hopes To Put Mangalore On India’s Tourism Map

A Stunning Short Film Hopes To Put Mangalore On India’s Tourism Map

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

- George A. Moore

For 32-year-old Luke Sydney going home to Mangalore for the December holidays is an annual tradition. Between these visits, he decided to look up Mangalore on YouTube, he assumed that he would find videos of the life he knew from his memories, shots of its local dance form and vibrant beaches perhaps. Instead what he found changed him instantly, clips of a plane crash at the Mangalore airport and failed attempts at trying to capture the city’s essence. Disappointed, Luke made the bold decision to quit his well-paying job as an advertising director with a production house in Mumbai and pursue a new goal. He had a vision now, one to create a short film on his beloved town that hit home hard.

Using the terribly made videos of Mangalore as a guide for ‘what not to do’, Luke knew that his film had to resonate with the deceptively small four-letter word ‘HOME’ and the true impact it carried and so, mammoth suitcase in tow, Luke moved back into his family abode. It was while he was ruminating on the theme he would pick for his film, that he was distracted by an appetizing smell. A seemingly heaven-sent figure walked his way bearing hot neer dosas and a nectar of the gods (a.k.a, ‘chicken sukka’) and Amma asked him ‘hasuve unta?’ (are you hungry?). A sudden revelation dawned on him, he knew in that instant that the converging point of his film would be the local cuisine of Mangalore.

Having been born and brought up in the city, his fondest memories were of days planned around his favourite nibbles. From frequenting the iconic Woodlands Hotel for its heavenly combinations of ‘Goli Bhajje’ and hot chai to the times he would visit his grandma’s tailoring unit to feast on the ‘country chicken’ biryani authentically packed in a banana leaf. These iconic dishes were so were known that he was certain that locals and migrants from the city alike would both relate to the local fare that he loved.

Can’t you just smell the appams and chicken sukka?!

Luckily for him, he was already equipped with the skill-set to put Mangalore on the map. A masters degree from a mass communication school in Pune landed the to-be director a job with renowned underwater photographer Anup J. Kat where he learnt the basics of videography, print and digital advertising, Luke took on every opportunity that came his way. This paved way for his next job with Gemma and Joel Fonseca, who are considered ‘veterans of the advertising industry’ where he pursued his childhood dreams of making films. Having gained vast amounts of hands on experience, Luke then went on to start out on his own with two other friends. This experience gave him the capabilities to branch out and work on his own idea.

Luke talks about his short-film “The Sky And The Sea”.

“If I wanted to take a friend to Mangalore, this is what I’d show him,” Luke explains about the elements covered through the film. The soundtrack in the film echoes the cultural presence that Mangalore contributes to the nation, marrying the fiery Hulivesha (tiger) dance moves to the glorious colors of the local food. On asking him about any interesting experiences that occurred in the process of making the film, he spoke about a random by-stander who questioned him about the shoot and offered his drone to include aerial sequences of the sea as well. After this absurd introduction, he became part of the crew and helped to shoot the film.

An aerial shot of Mangalore’s blue waters.

Luke’s eyes suddenly gleamed when we touched upon the subject of his favourite spots in and around Mangalore. The quaint town of Udupi is a 2-hour drive from Mangalore, he describes it as ‘untouched by time’, he told me about it’s Shaka surf club that is all about finding freedom in the waves. Moving on to the local’s favourites in the city, he let me in on the secrets of a ‘churmuri’ (bhel puri) stall outside the infamous Aloysius college that has was his childhood haunt. From Pabba’s parlour that serves up delicious Ideal ice cream and the mouth-watering fish thalis at restaurants like Machali and Giri Manja’s, to fluffy appams and beer at Froth On Top, the list goes on. He also mentioned a cruise ship that sails from Mumbai to Mangalore, bragging of a gorgeous view of romantic sunsets.

He titled his film ‘The Sky And The Sea’, a simple reflection of everything he holds dear about Mangalore. The simplicity of life, cleanliness of the beaches, humble middle class values in an upscale city and the warmth of its people is what he pictures every time he shuts his eyes and thinks of his native town. After pouring his blood, sweat and tears into this project, Luke admits he has gained clarity about the kind of films he wants to make. “I’ve realised that creative gratification is extremely important. If there’s no satisfaction in designing something, a sense of redundancy kicks in,” said Luke, ending our conversation on a happy note. That being said, home is really where the heart is, and we know for sure that Luke’s home definitely has his heart.

To watch The Sky And The Sea, click here.

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