New Delhi: ‘Hellaro’ is a film on women’s self-expression and liberation conveyed through the Gujarati dance form Garba. This is how Director Abhishek Shah describes his National Award winning film which opened the Indian Panorama Feature Film Section at IFFI -2019 in Goa today.The storyline is set in 1975. A young Manjhri is married off in a small village in the Rann of Kutch. There, she joins a group of women shackled by patriarchal mandates. Their only escape from the suppression is when they go out to fetch water every morning to a distant water-body. One day, while on their way to fetch water, they find someone in the middle of the desert and their lives are changed forever.
Speaking about the movie, Abhishek Shah said, “it’s a universal story rooted in tradition”. “It’s a journey from suppression to expression”, he added.‘Hellaro’ is the first Gujarati film to win National Films Award. The Director stated that lots of good experimental films are now being made in Gujarati language.This movie is contesting for the Centenary Award for the The Best Debut Feature Film.Actors Niilam Panchal and Tejal Panchasra, Editor and Screenplay Writer Prateek Gupta and Producer Ayush Patel were also present at the press meet.
The cast of ‘Hellaro’ includes Shraddha Dangar, Jayesh More, Tejal Panchasra and Shailesh Prajapati. Director Abhishek Shah has been a Casting Director for 15 Gujarati films. He has also been a writer, director and actor with mainstream theatre for over 18 years. He has also directed TV commercials and promotional films.
Ashish Pandey, Director of the film ‘Nooreh’, the first film screened in the Non-Feature Section of Indian Panorama, said, his film portrayed the dreams of children growing up in disturbed areas who long for a ‘beautiful world’ free of conflicts. Nestled in the Kashmir valley is a small village which is located on the India- Pakistan border. Its people are always caught in the crossfire between the two nations. One night an eight year old girl Nooreh discovers that the gun battle rages when she sleeps and the bloody duel stops when she keeps her eyes open.
This film has been shot at an Indo-Pak border village in Kashmir where kids grow up amidst conflicts and dream of a peaceful, “better” world, said Ashish Pandey. The cast consists of actual villagers and the dialogues are in the local dialect with Kashmiri and Urdu thrown in-between, he said.The film employs powerful imagery, combining violence and fantasy in a wonderful fashion. The cast consists of Noor, Sania and Afreen. Cinematographer Sushil Gautam was also present in the press meet.
Ashish Pandey also opined that films should make people more sensitive about the world in which they live and cultivate a sense of humaneness. He is a graduate from SRFTI, Kolkata with a specialization in Sound Recording and Design. He directed his first short ‘The Cabin Man’ (2007) followed by ‘Open Doors’ (2011) and ‘Nooreh’ (2018). He started the production company Sophiya Films. His filmography includes ‘The Cabin Man’, ‘Open Doors’ and ‘Nooreh’.