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A Tale From The Past

Friday, February 20, 2015

After globe-trotting through various film festivals, independent filmmaker Anup Singh’s acclaimed film Qissa is set for a theatrical release. Rohit Pramar caught up with him to talk about his film

Your film is finally releasing in India. How do you feel?
To release Qissa in the country from where the film’s very light and voice rise is an exultant moment for me. Qissa is about the secrets and fragile aspects of our life that we avoid sharing with others. I believe that an audience that remains vulnerable to its inner spirit and is fearless about celebrating life in all its complexity will find that Qissa is as much their story as it’s mine.

What inspired you to make this film?
There is one story that inspired me and has a lot to do with this film. It was told to me by a very old man. During the partition, women would rather jump into wells than risk rape when their villages were attacked. His daughter, barely in her teens, had jumped into a well too and, now, sixty years later, he still dreams about her. He told me that in his dream he sees her in the well, looking up at the sky, waiting for him, her father, to come for her. This story was one of the starting points of Qissa.

How difficult was it to deal with a subject that is more than 50-years-old?
It wasn’t difficult at all. One of the reasons I made Qissa was to see how this cycle of violence today resides even in the most intimate spaces of our family. If we’re unable to be compassionate and respectful towards the women of our family then what hope can anyone else have?

How was it working with Irrfan Khan and Tisca Chopra? 
It was one of the most loving and intense experiences of my life. The kind of trust that they placed in me and the tremendous openness with which they gave me complete access into their deepest creative secrets is something that I’ll cherish for all my life.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on Lasya, The Gentle Dance, a film that is set on the streets of Mumbai, featuring three female beggar from different generations. The project has already won the Prins Claus award and the CNC award.

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