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Punjabi film making waves at international film festivals
JATINDER PREET  2nd Oct 2011

Samuel John in 'Anhey Ghorhey da Daan'. Photo: Sunaina Singh

nhey Ghorhey da Daan (Alms of the Blind Horse), a Punjabi film, is doing the rounds of prestigious international film festivals. Recently screened at the Venice Film Festival, the film is now set to travel to London, South Korea, Abu Dabhi, Hong Kong and New York.

Produced by the National Film Development Corporation, the film marks the debut of FTII graduate Gurvinder Singh, who had earlier worked on documentaries and music videos. Mentored by celebrated filmmaker Mani Kaul, Singh's movie premiered in the competitive category at the Venice Film Festival. After receiving an enthusiastic response from the critics there, the film has now been chosen for the 16th Busan International Film Festival, 55th BFI London Film Festival, 49th New York Film Festival and the 5th Abu Dhabi Film Festival this month, apart from 36th Hong Kong Film Festival.

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There were so many social, cultural and political dimensions that have never been touched by Punjabi and Indian cinema, except as a backdrop for a romantic scene once in a while

The film is based on a Punjabi novel by Jnanpith Award winner Gurdial Singh, whose stories give voice to the marginalised communities. Samuel John, who plays one of the protagonists in the film, hopes that the film will give the audience a taste of Punjab beyond the stereotypical images of lush green fields and people singing and dancing.Image 2nd

"There were so many social, cultural and political dimensions that have never been touched by Punjabi and Indian cinema, except as a backdrop for a romantic scene once in a while," says the director, adding that Gurdial's novel offered great possibilities, cinematically. Singh felt a strong desire to make a film on it because of the way the narrative unfolds.

The story takes you from a village to a city and back. The way characters come and go and relationships are unveiled and the fact that all of this happens in just one day, from dawn to midnight, is fascinating. "I loved the change in the quality of sunlight during the winters in Punjab. From gentle foggy morning sun to dusk, the city lights and complete darkness that engulfs villages ... The desire to capture such a variety of light was also a compelling reason to make this film," says Singh.

 
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