Films selected in Competition for 2019
Dir.: Visakesa Chandrasekaram
(Sri Lanka (Sinhalese) / 2018 / 85)
Babanona (Nita Fernando), a launderer belonging to one of the lowest castes in Sri Lanka is summoned to an identification parade where she identifies Lionel as one of the paramilitary men who abducted her son during the 1988/89 insurgency. While Indika (Jagath Manuwarna), the young public prosecutor shows little or no interest in helping Babanorna in finding her missing son, Namalee (Nadie Kammallaweera), the pregnant wife of the paramilitary man seeks forgiveness from the launderer. As the prolonging hearings in the dilapidated courthouse continue for months, shameful secrets are gradually unearthed by the defeated rebels, victorious soldiers and those who were crushed in between.
Nita Fernando, Nadie Kammallaweera, Jagath Manuwarna
Dir.: Dr. Biju
(India (Malyalam) / 2019 / 108)
A Dalit family lives in an island in Kerala, and loses their house in the floods. They are set for Himachal Pradesh to work as guards at an apple orchard in the middle of the mountains. The film shows the life of people who struggle hard with nature and seasons. The film also shows how the socially backward community in India grapples with caste discrimination in their daily life.
Indrans, Saritha Kukku, Master Govardhan
Dir.: Mragendra Singh
(India-USA / 2018 / 91)
Aniket and Leah, married and in their early 30s, have just had their first child. The complications that follow newly found parenthood are beginning to set in and the repetitive nature of their relationship is getting… well, repetitive. Aniket and Leah shortly find themselves exhausted, which leads to many failed attempts at intimacy. Aniket and Leah are consumed by their doubts and insecurities, and it takes a toll on their relationship. They begin to drift apart and instead of open communication, they bury it under the rug. In this new chapter of Aniket and Leah’s lives, they must find their version of ‘normal’ in order to save their relationship, and their family.
Assem Tiwari, Suzanna Akins, Cynthia Strahan
Dir.: Sunit Sinha
(India (Hindi) / 2019 / 81)
Amanpreet, a youth from a village in Punjab, is forced to migrate to New Delhi for livelihood. He yearns for all that he has left behind – his days without a care; and Geetu, his bride-to-be. He constantly struggles with the unfamiliar way of life. He appears painfully disoriented. Employed at an automobile tools shop, while Amanpreet’s co-workers jump at every opportunity to humiliate him, his boss constantly threatens to fire him. His harassed work-life, the pressures of the impending marriage, and pennilessness drive him to total despair. He soon cracks. Amanpreet engages in a murderous assault and self-destructs the very life he set out to build. Now an uncertain fate looms large.
Adesh Sidhu and Sunit Sinha
Dir.: Madhumita Sundararaman
(India (Tamil) / 2019 / 115)
Karuppudurai, an 80-year-old man, bedridden in a coma for the past three months, suddenly wakes up one fine day to overhear his family’s plan to kill him by performing an ancient euthanasia ritual. Hurt, heartbroken and afraid, Karuppudurai runs away from the only home he has ever known. On an aimless path with nowhere to go, he accidentally meets a 10-year-old orphan Kutty. Kutty is everything Karuppudurai isn’t — smart, spunky and full of life. The fiercely independent Kutty encourages KD to chalk out a bucket list and start living for himself. Thus begins an eventful road trip of this unlikely pair – an old man running away from his family and a young boy who never had one.
Mu Ramaswamy, Nagavishal, Yog Japee
Dir.: Sumitra Bhave
(India (Marathi) / 2018 / 89)
Ramji, a humble iron-smith from a small village, is a devotee of Lord Vitthal. For years he has followed the Waarkari (a devotional sect) tradition of going on a pilgrimage with thousands of other devotees. His world comes crashing down after his only son drowns in a flooding river. Ramji is not only sad but also angry at God. He and his friends are trying to make sense of the tragedy. One rainy night, unfolds a tale of grief and ecstasy – where the seeming opposites just collapse and dissolve into the oneness of being. Life offers Ramji a chance to ‘see’ the non-duality of birth and death, and make peace with his grief.
Kishor Kadam, Dr. Mohan Agashe, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Uttara Baokar, Amruta Subhash, Girish Kulkarni, Shashank Shende, Anjali Patil, Kailash Waghmare, Onkar Govardhan
Dir.: Arjunn Dutta
(India (Bengali) / 2018 / 87)
Abyakto is a poignant tale of a mother and son. The story encapsulates an unusual journey of Indra right from his childhood, adolescence to being a grown man. A series of unexplained events which turn him into a man he never ought to be. And these unexplained and unusual series of events are come upon by the film’s three most integral pillars, Indra’s mother Sathi, his father Kaushik and his father’s friend and his favorite uncle, Rudra.
Arpita Chatterjee, Adil Hussain, Anubhav Kanjilal
Dir.: Tashi Gyeltshen
(Bhutan-Germany-Nepal (Dzongkha) / 2018 / 85)
In a remote valley of Bhutan, teenager SANGAY lives with her widowed father, a traditional craftsman of wooden phalluses. She is not happy with her life, and opposes her dad and everybody at school. She feels trapped within the vastness of the valley, surrounded by villagers that live by their beliefs and symbols. Until the day her father discovers her relationship with a married man, from the lowest caste of the village.
Tshering Euden, Singye, Dorji Gyeltshen, Choten Wangchuk
Dir.: Ananth Mahadevan
(India (Marathi) / 2019 / 104)
In the summer of 2018, for the first time in the history of the judiciary in India, two policemen were given the death sentence. It was the result of a protracted thirteen-year personal war by a mother whose son was wrongly branded a thief and tortured to death in their custody. The film explores the impact of the violent act and questions our social and personal conscience , as everyone — from the perpetrators of the heinous act to the victim, their families and kin — are deeply impacted. The deeply flawed security system and the ominous caste barriers result in human values eroding and each character drawn into the quagmire of guilt.
Usha Jadhav, Suhasini Mulay, Girish Oak, Kamlesh Sawant
Dir.: Shilpa Krishnan
(Singapore / 2019 / 93)
“Story.Each of us have one. In fact that’s who we are – a story each. And our life is a mere thread delicately holding together the pages.
Kathaah@8. An anthology of 8 stories in 8 different Indian languages – all happening at 8:00 pm.
Stories that come alive across a town, a city, a country – all at the same time.
My story and yours.
His story and hers.
A story a step strewn across the expanse of an hour.
A story each for love, loss and longing.
A story of tears and fears and a story for every dream, scream and silence.
These are our stories and this is Kathaah@8.”
Shekhar Nansi, Tania Mukherjee, Viral Patel, Charan Singh, Rachita Arke, Shalmalee Vaidya, Gautam Marathe, Anindita Ghosh, Sreyus Palliyani, Archana Pradeep, Arzu Arnool, Sai Pogaru Renita Kapoor, Geeta Balagangadharan, Prem Menon, Mathangi Naraynan
Dir.: Shilpa Krishnan
(Singapore / 2019 / 93)
“Adeel is a cab driver and conman with dreams to leave Karachi and start a new life in Dubai. Aliya Malik is a widow desperate to find and bring justice to the target killers who murdered her husband.
In a circumstantial meeting, the two realise they can help each other. Adeel, through his contacts on the streets, can help Aliya find her husband’s murderer. In exchange, she’ll give him enough money to flee to Dubai. But neither of them realise they’re in over their heads, and so begins an intriguing cat and mouse game through the streets of Karachi.”
Ahmed Ali Akbar, Mansha Pasha, M.Ahmed
Dir.: Bhaskar Hazarika
(India (Asamese) / 2019 / 108)
A lonely, married woman bonds with a younger man over their shared love of unusual foods. As their excursions become more adventurous, their relationship begins to take a dark turn.
Lima Das, Arghadeep Baruah, Neetali Das
Dir.: R. Parthiban
(India (Tamil) / 2019 / 99)
A middle aged man Masilamani, a security guard at a popular sports and recreation club, is being questioned as a murder suspect while his terminally ill young son waits outside the investigation room. Throughout the movie, he is the only actor seen on screen, while other characters are only voices that interact with him. Masilamani, an eccentric and emotional wreck, talks in riddles, back and forth, narrating his story in non linear fashion for the cops and audience to piece together.
Dir.: Rahat Kazmi
A period drama, the film is based on Ismat Chugtai’s most celebrated story “Lihaaf” (published 1942). The film inter weaves the plot of same sex relationship between Begum and her masseuse and the trial that Ismat underwent after being slapped with a case of obscenity on publishing the story. The film raises themes of homosexuality and freedom of speech that our society is grappling with even today.
Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sonal Sehgal, Virendra Saxena, Rahat Kazmi, Mir Sarwar