City-based filmmaker Kabir Chowdhrys film Good Morning about a man,his wife and a lover,has caught global attention
The months spent in Sri Lanka shooting for filmmaker Deepa Mehtas Midnights Children left an indelible impression on Kabir Chowdhrys psyche. On the face of it,Chowdhry found the tropical island a haven with its simple people with big smiles. But he felt something amiss. In the eight months spent there,he observed how everyone was under a watch. Coming back to India was a relief and I just wanted to make a real film to deal with this human dilemma,of how people may seem fine but there is a lot of violence stored inside them,accumulated over years of torture physical and mental, says Chowdhry. The result his 45-minute-long film,Good Morning,which has got a lakh-plus hits on the Internet and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short at SAIFF (South Asian International Film Festival),New York. The film was made on a budget of Rs 25,000,with a crew of just three people,and was shot over a period of four days in Chandigarh.
In this understated theatrical fable,penned by South African writer Can Themba,a young married couple (Sunny and Noor in the film) are faced with a moral dilemma. When the husband discovers his wife with her lover,he forces her to keep the mans discarded suit and treat it as an honoured guest. The suit on a hanger even joins them on walks. Despite the absurd nature of this punishment,it slowly provokes the free-spirited but repressed wifes mental destruction. A suit is a metaphor for the emotional abuse of apartheid that plagued South Africa. But we kept that out and translated the story,which was a challenge,for I had to take a different cultural context with a different political history, says Chowdhry,who penned the script during a break in Chandigarh. My friend and the films editor,Sakshi Bhatia,suggested we rework the 60-page script and do a 10-minute film,which ended up being a 45-minute-long film, says the director.
The original 60-page-long script of Good Morning was humourous and written by Chowdhry about five years ago. Our aim was to make a very small film on the phone,but the cast in flesh,blood and training was too exciting to keep it low quality, admits Chowdhry. The film stars Sukhmani Malik (Noor) and NSD graduates Manish Kumar (as Sunny) and Emanuel Singh (as The Suit).
While reading the story I felt the anger of the characters,their sense of being betrayed by their own natures. How within the ostensibly secure walls of marriage,violence is exercised. How ordinary and simple human beings have the potential to inflict the most dehumanising violence on each other, he says.
The film slowly unfolds the bitter and brutal account of the collapse of an apparently happy marriage,infidelity,alienation and the inability to communicate. Produced by Pate Picture Company in association with Mahamudra Film Company last November,this psychological drama has catapulted Chowdhry into virtual space and as a result,he now has crowd sourcing for his next,a revenge film set in and around Delhi on the lines of the Kill Bill series. And yes,this film too will have a lady on the prowl. I used to paint a lot till someone gifted me a camera and I discovered how all art just came together in filmmaking. I decided I wanted to make films, concludes Chowdhry.