Exploring Magic Realism in Raam Reddy’s “The Fable”

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Raam Reddy, renowned for his National award-winning Kannada film “Thithi,” embarked on a surreal journey with his second feature, “The Fable.” Initially set against the backdrop of Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand, the film’s production was abruptly halted by the onset of the global pandemic. However, amidst the unexpected pause, Reddy and his team found themselves immersed in the breathtaking Himalayan landscape, fostering an atmosphere of creativity and introspection.

In “The Fable,” actor Manoj Bajpayee portrays Dev, a fruit orchard owner grappling with inexplicable phenomena such as insect attacks and spontaneous fires. Adding to the intrigue, Dev immerses himself in the construction of man-made wings, symbolizing his desire to transcend the confines of his reality. Set in 1989, the film masterfully blends elements of magic realism with the cultural diversity of the region, incorporating languages such as Hindi, English, and Pahari.

Reddy’s upbringing in a coffee estate influenced his portrayal of social dynamics and class structures, which he seamlessly transposed onto the Himalayan setting. Drawing from personal childhood experiences, including a whimsical belief in growing wings, Reddy crafted a narrative that reflects his own fascination with the mystical allure of the mountains.

With a stellar cast featuring Priyanka Bose and Deepak Dobriyal, Reddy sought to broaden the film’s appeal while staying true to its thematic depth. Filmed on 16mm stock, “The Fable” exudes an authentic retro vibe, capturing the essence of its time period. Reddy’s deliberate choice of medium underscores his commitment to preserving the emotional resonance of the story, eschewing digital technology for a more visceral cinematic experience.

The performances in “The Fable” are nothing short of captivating, with actors like Dobriyal and Bose infusing their characters with depth and authenticity. Despite limited screen time, Tillotama Shome delivers a compelling portrayal, underscoring the film’s central theme of storytelling and its enduring impact on human consciousness.

In essence, “The Fable” transcends the boundaries of conventional storytelling, inviting viewers into a world where reality intertwines with the surreal. Through Reddy’s visionary direction and the collective brilliance of its cast, the film serves as a testament to the enduring power of imagination and the transformative nature of cinema.

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