As part of 40th International Film Festival of India – 2009 pre Festival screenings are being held today for the Press and Media. ‘When This Man Dies’, ‘The First Leap’, ‘Firaaq’, ‘Nanam Oru Penn’, ‘Haat, The Weekly Bazaar’, ‘Gabhricha Paus’, ‘What If’ and ‘Pasanga’ are being screened in Macquinez I. The synopses of these are as below:
WHEN THIS MAN DIES
The monotony of an officer worker’s life is disrupted when he receives a letter offering him the money bequeathed to him by a dead man. As these letters and the promised money get delivered regularly, his daily life patterns start to alter and so does his lifestyle.
Kisna is a farmer trying hard to cope and make ends meet. But many things, including nature, are stacked against him. His wife is convinced that he is contemplating ending his life like the other farmers of the village have in the past. She ropes in this six-year-old son to constantly watch over his father and report any irregularities in his behaviour. Kisna, unaware of all this, works hard and prays for the rains to be on his side. But how long can he keep trying with little or no profits to show for his efforts?
THE FIRST LEAP
The artistes of the first feature film of Manipur Matangee Manipur meet after a gap of 37 years. They have lunch and watch the film together, recollect the past, what they went through to achieve the impossible. It’s a journey made by the present to know their past to better their own future.
Firaaq is an ensemble film that takes place over a 24-hour period; a month after a horrific communal carnage. The film traces the emotional journeys of ‘ordinary people’. A middle class housewife closes the door on a victim and struggles to overcome her guilt. The loyalties of two best friends are tested in the times of fear and suspicion. A bunch of young men having suffered the riots, seek revenge to fight their helplessness and anger. A modern day Hindu-Muslim couple struggles between the instinct to hide their identity and the desire to assert it. A boy desperately searches for his missing father, having lost the rest of his family in the riots. A saintly musician clings on to his idealism, despite all the violence in the city, until an incident shakes his faith. While these stories, at times interconnected and at times discrete, are across class, gender and religion, they are united by their spatial and emotional context.
Firaaq explores the impact of violence on human psyche and relationships. Some characters are victims, some are perpetrators and then there are those who watch silently. Violence spares nobody. Yet in the midst of all this madness, some still sing hopeful songs for better times.
NANAM ORU PENN
It’s the story of a transgender person and her struggle for recognition and acceptance at her work place. The film brings out the common prejudices against people who are differently oriented, sexually. Selvi, who is transgender, gets a job in a software company. She feels the job has come to her on sympathetic grounds than merit. She has been appointed under corporate social responsibility programme. Her immediate superior, Bhaskar, doesn’t accept her as part of his team. Her colleagues also keep a distance. Unable to bear the humiliations Selvi decides to quit. Her friend Jaya, another transgender, convinces her to fight it out. Selvi gets an opportunity to prove her worth which she grabs with both hands. She eventually gets appreciation, her confirmation letter and acceptance from colleagues.
HAAT, THE WEEKLY BAZAAR
The film is based on a regressive custom called “Natha Pratha”, whereby if a woman wants to leave her husband, her father or any other person who supports her, she has to pay a compensation. If it’s not paid the woman is punished by the villagers and it can be as degrading as being paraded naked in front of the whole village. On the contrary, if the husband wants to leave a woman he needn’t offer any reason or explanation, leave alone the compensation. The film is based on the story of a woman who was doled out such a punishment. Sanja meets the spirit of Ambika who belongs to the 18th century and had undergone a similar trauma. Her salvation lies in a woman who can stand up and fight against this custom, who doesn’t get bogged down and maintains her dignity and courage.
The story deals with the vision of a young boy in a remote village. His father is a station master and he himself notices the trains passing by. One evening, on returning home from school he sees the train and a small idea strikes his mind-taking a small coin, keeping it under train wheels and flattening it out to make a larger, lustrous coin. It doesn’t change the value of the coin but we can interpret it as the boy envisioning himself as an entrepreneur who invests to make more and see his money grow.
Pasanga is about how a 10-year-old’s dreams and aspirations bring about a change among his friends and family. 10-year-old Anbu dreams of becoming an IAS officer. His father has no higher aspirations while mother desires a lavish life. This often makes them quarrel. So Anbu’s father decides to shift the family to a new place hoping it will help. Anbu joins the local school where his neighbour is a teacher. The teacher’s son Jeeva also studies in the same class as Anbu. Jeeva is the campus bully while Anbu endears himself to his teacher as well as classmates. Jeeva hates him for that. Their rivalry turns makes their fathers quarrel too. Meanwhile, Anbu’s uncle falls in love with Jeeva’s sister. So will Anbu and Jeeva become relatives from rivals? The film ends with the note that kids should have their dreams and healthy competition will always enable them to march towards success