SET IN Vidarbha region, the film opens with a shot that shows a social activist engaging in talks with farmers, who have innumerable worries written all over their wrinkled faces – from unpredictable weather to debts to low prices fetched by crops. Ten minutes into this feature film and one knows that Baromas has its heart in the right place. Directed by Dhiraj Meshram, a graduate from the Film and Television of India (FTII) and currently an Associate Professor of Film Production at the institute, portrays the plight of farmers and youth residing in rural India.
Baromas, which means month-after-month, is based on Sahitya Akademi winning novel by the same name by Sadanand Deshmukh. When Meshram read this novel in 2005, he could instantly draw parallels between the novel’s characters and his own life. For someone who was born and brought up in Amravati in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and who had witnessed day-to-day struggles faced by farmers, the desire to adapt the novel into a film, came very naturally.
“Though the film’s story revolves around one particular family but through this one story, it goes on to tell the stories of hundreds and thousands of families residing in rural parts of India and not just Vidarbha. They all have the same issues – be it unemployment, dependence on weather, market sources, or petty politics in the area,” says Meshram, who graduated from FTII in 2004. His films in the past – Oadh and Haravalele Indradhanush (The Lost Rainbow) have won many accolades and acclaim at number of film festivals in India and overseas.
Released on June 17, Baromas has already done the rounds of film festivals like 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival, 9th Annual South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF), New York and Washington DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF).
Other than its heart-wrenching storyline, the highlight of Baromas is its powerful starcast, which includes National Award-winning actors like Seema Biswas, Benjamin Gilani and Devika Daftardar in addition to Subrat Dutta, Sudhir Pandey and Jatin Goswami. Since the film is set in rural background and the related issues, Meshram shares the task of finding a producer, proved challenging and went on for almost two years, till he met P Sajith, an entrepreneur and cinephile and Priyanka Sood, a graduate from FTII, who believed in supporting meaningful films with a strong storyline that will engage with audiences across the globe.
Meshram cites that initially the plan was to make a Marathi film but when the film’s first draft was ready in the year 2009, they decided to make it in Hindi for a wider reach. “We felt that the story covers the struggles of farmers of the entire country and not just one region,” he says.
The film is not only set and shot in Vidarbha but also features farmers and amateur theatre actors of the region in various scenes. Speaking about the experience of working with local farmers, he adds, “They offered tremendous support throughout the film and willingly let us shoot them for various scenes. The local theatre artistes of Vidarbha are very talented and work with subjects that deal with local issues. I’m delighted with the response Baromas has fetched since its release in Vidarbha and Buldhana region.”