Dogme95 inspires filmmakers in Tollywood

The Dogme95 manifesto that was founded by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg continues to inspire new filmmakers more than twenty years since it was announced.

According to an article in The News Minute, a group of ‘Tollywood’ filmmakers look to the Dogme95 movement when creating their films.

The name Tollywood refers to the cinema of West Bengal, with the industry located in the Tollygunge region of Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

The film Needi Naadi Oke Katha, directed by Venu Udugula, is set to be the first Tollywood Dogme film. The article states that the reason for the use of Dogme is due to the high cost of lights, modern cameras, epic settings, and graphics. Needi Naadi Oke Katha is described as a romantic comedy.

Trying to break away from the norm, Udugula looked to the Dogme95 manifesto as a low-cost alternative to filmmaking.

Speaking about how he was drawn to the Dogme 95 format, he said, “While working as an assistant director, I got to know about the different waves of filmmaking. I came across the manifesto, when I was thinking about making a movie with natural settings, on a low budget.”

The Dogme manifesto was founded by Trier and Vinterberg and has a set of ten rules that describe a way of shooting the film. The rules are:

  1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
  2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot.)
  3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
  4. The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
  5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
  7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now).
  8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
  9. The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
  10. The director must not be credited.


The best known Dogme films are Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration, Lars von Trier’s The Idiots and Lone Scherfig’s Italian for Beginners.

To learn more about Dogme in Tollywood, click here  and here.

To learn more about Dogme, take a look at our articles here (and here). You can also read our interview with Lone Scherfig about Dogme here.

Here’s the films official Facebook page. 

CategoriesDenmark India
Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.