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Love Chaitanya Tamhane's minimalistic approach to filmmaking, says Kiran Yadnyopavit

Writer-director-actor Yadnyopavit plays the father of the protagonist in Chaitanya Tamhane's critically acclaimed The Disciple (2021).

Suyog Zore

Chaitanya Tamhane's sophomore film The Disciple (2021), which was released last week on Netflix, has writer-director-actor Kiran Yadnyopavit playing the protagonist's father.

"I'm playing the father of the central character," said Yadnyopavit. "It's not a very lengthy role and I only have maybe eight or nine scenes in the movie. But it's very significant to the story. A lot of important stuff happens in those scenes."

Yadnyopavit, who is himself an acclaimed filmmaker with critically acclaimed films Taryanche Bait (2011) and Salaam (2014) to his credit, was all praise for Tamhane's minimalistic style of filmmaking.

The Disciple review: Quiet, masterful study of passion and ability

"His approach is very different from that of other filmmakers I have worked with," he said, "and his unique style of filmmaking stands out. I absolutely enjoyed working with him. It was a unique experience for me.

"He is a very different kind of director. 'Less is more' is his mantra. Your expressions, your hand gestures, your body language, even your facial muscles, can we keep them to the minimum and still reach the core of the emotion? That is what Tamhane tries to extract from his actors."

Tamhane is known for his long takes. In The Disciple, too, we see the same approach. By Yadnyopavit's admission, it was a difficult task to pull off, especially for someone like him who is only an occasional actor. "Whatever four- or five-minute scene he has conceived, you have to deliver without making a mistake. Tamhane is such a perfectionist that even if there was a tiny mistake, we had to reshoot the whole scene again. So you have to be constantly in tune with the emotion of that scene to give of your best."

The Disciple tells the story of a Hindustani classical musician played by Aditya Modak who has dedicated his life to his musical goals. The film traces his journey and his struggles to achieve his dream.