February 17, 2021 12:16:47 am
Set in the 1980s, decades before the advent of mobile phones, ‘Khat ka Anand’, a film by a 24-year-old Pune University has poignantly etched the emotional trials faced by soldiers, separated from their families by long distances and for periods, while on duty.
In the film, protagonist Suraj Sharma, a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, has to leave his wife, Gayatri, at his Madhya Pradesh village days after their marriage to join duty at the Siachen. Separated by several kilometres, the young couple has no other means to stay in touch, but through letters. As the days crawl waiting for the mailman, the news of border tension pours in and triggers myriad emotions.
“We often look upon a soldier as a figure of valour and bravery. But I wanted to explore their emotional lives, away from their parents, spouse and children,” filmmaker Asim Ali Inamdar said.
Inamdar, who has been a part of 12 films, such as ‘Mhorkya’ that won three National Awards in 2018, graduated from the Pune University in computer application. Currently, he is completing a mass communication course from Amity University.
A member of the Mumbai Film Writers’ Association, Inamdar said he had set the story in an era when letters and rare landline calls were the only means of long-distance communication, as he wanted the audience to comprehend the personal anxieties of the men in uniform.
Plucking an incident from his family history, the filmmaker shared his father, who lived and worked in Pune, had received two letters on the same day. “One said his mother, who lived in Jabalpur, was ill. The other letter said she had died. If my father had received the first letter earlier, he might have visited his dying mother,” Inamdar said.
He added that while the story of his latest film had been conceptualised in 2016, its shooting started only in 2019. “The movie was shot at Sutarwadi in Pune and the post-production work took me a year-and-a-half, during which the pandemic struck and stopped all my plans to screen the film at global festivals,” he added. Talks are on with an OTT platform to release the film in the next few months.
Inamdar said he drew the events in the film from his research into the family lives of soldiers. “Several soldiers have been missing in action for the past 30 years. Their families are stuck in limbo as they do not know if the soldiers are alive or dead. Many of them have made the rounds of Pakistan jails, to no avail,” he said.
The film has been embellished with classical music, including a sarod track by Ustad Alam Khan, the grandson of Ustad Alauddin Khan, who founded the Maihar gharana. “I approached more than 20 classical musicians. The film features less-known instruments, such as the dilruba. It also has a ghazal by Milap Rane and a thumri by Smita Deshmukh,” Inamdar said.
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