Making Art is Work, getting people to pay for it is Art.
It was 2nd November 2015, a remarkable day in the week of cinematic wonders that is MAMI Film Festival. I was among the first few people to attend the Indian premiere of Haraamkhor. I brag about it because I was the last delegate, in (almost endless) stand by queue, who was allowed to enter the screening. I’ve seen people standing in the queue for hours and fighting authorities just to watch this movie. However, after few months, the role was reversed. The film had to stand in queue for almost a year and fight authorities in order to reach its audience. The film has emerged victorious in its battle against CBFC, but this victory would mean nothing without our support.
Watching Haraamkhor at the festival was like witnessing the birth of an exceptionally bright kid who had a tough time getting the birth certificate. Words can’t describe the elusive joy of watching this movie, which is why I want you to watch it and be happy. Or be sad. But if you’re Haraamkhor and still looking for reasons to watch this movie, I’ve five of them for you:
1. Haraamkhor is a small film with big heart. This crowd-funded indie film was shot on a tight budget in mere sixteen days. Despite the seriousness of subject matter, the film is light-hearted and entertaining for most of its runtime. The characters of film are relatable and quirky.
2. After her sensational debut in Masaan, Shweta Tripathi once again wins our heart with the portrayal of troubled teenage girl. Nawazuddin plays a depraved tuition master who is as charismatic as he is conniving. However, the cast’s real standouts are the child actors, namely Irfan Khan and Mohd Samad.
3. Although on a surface, film is about the illicit relationship between teacher and student, at its core, it’s story of the loss of innocence. The cause and consequences of such relation are examined from the perspective of children who are curious, naïve but not judgmental. There is one gut-wrenching scene towards the end which reminds me of Mira Nair’s Salam Bombay.
4. Despite the tight budget and limited resources, Shlok Sharma has proved his potential as a director. We’re talking about the man who has worked with mavericks like Vishal Bhardwaj and Anurag Kashyap. Flawed as it might be, Haraamkhor is genuinely moving, often funny, and at times devastating.
5. Haraamkhor might be the first good movie of 2017. The revival of Indian Independent cinema is in full bloom. The success of this movie will pave the path for upcoming indie & crowd-funded movies.