Gurvinder Singh’s Chauthi Koot and Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan have been shortlisted in the Un Certain Regard category of this year’s Festival de Cannes.
Punjabi film Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction) is based on two short stories by Punjabi writer Waryam Singh Sandhu, titled Chauthi Koot and Hunn Main Theek Haan. The story is set in Punjab against the backdrop of the Sikh separatist movement in the ‘80s.
“The film doesn’t directly talk about Operation Blue Star. It instead captures the mahaul, the mood of the time, when Punjab would live under near curfew and the common man found himself squeezed between the militants and police,” Singh said.
Varun Grover, who co-wrote Masaan with Ghaywan said: “Masaan, set in Varanasi, revolves around four key characters, that of a young orphan, a low-caste teenage boy, a girl and her father as they attempt to fight against the morality and traditions typical of the small town they live in”.
Their lives intersect tangentially when the low-caste boy, played by Vicky Kaushal, falls in love with an upper-caste girl and Richa Chadha’s character finds herself in a sex scandal. Her father Sanjay Mishra finds himself fighting the taboo but in him, the young orphan, played by Nikhil Sahni, finds a father figure.
“The initial idea is still there but several characters have since been developed to make the script more holistic,” adds Ghaywan, who made the award-winning short film Shor. Masaan is likely to have an India release later this year.