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A Billion Colour Story: A gem of an Indian movie

3/16/2018 5:23:58 PM
written By : Team India Se Print

Imagine a movie inspired by John Lennon’s Imagine. That could be A Billion Colour Story. A film that elicits both agony and ecstasy. You will be driven to raptures by its marvellous photography capturing the beauty of India and fumbling for a tissue unable to bear the hatred and intolerance it shows simmering across this beautiful land.

Former adman Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy’s considerable creative talent is on song in this poignant, lyrical English movie shot almost entirely in black and white about an idealistic Muslim filmmaker, his Hindu wife (both are liberal and agnostic) and their precocious son trying to find happiness in what appears to be an increasingly divided land.

The family of three and their few friends look almost heroic as they get together for convivial evenings, play chess or football or read a book in this gentle, family movie where violence finally explodes at the end, with deadly consequences, for this is India after all, which has been through Partition and communal riots and is still battling separatism in Kashmir. And yet this is also the land of Mahatma Gandhi, where Hindus and Muslims alike visit Sufi shrines, where the preamble to the constitution states: “India is a secular country, where all religions are treated equally.”  Communal forces have not been able to pull that edifice apart. A country of 1.3 billion people, including more than 172 million Muslims, India remains a vibrant, secular democracy. It springs from the most generous human impulse that doesn’t discriminate between people.

A Billion Colour Story is an outpouring of the liberal, secular heart of India that mourns the rise of intolerance and will never let it prevail.

A touching, lyrical film, it was filmed in only four months, said Padmakumar “Paddy” Narasimhamurthy, talking to India Se Media. Youthful, long-haired, the film director, who is in his mid-40s, made this, his first feature film, with his own money.

He shot the film only on weekends, he said, because he didn’t want his son to miss school. His 14-year-old son, Dhruva, plays the 11-year-old narrator in the film and is charming in his innocence. Mop-haired, with a sweet face, he is one of the film’s biggest attractions, though Gaurav Sharma and Vasuki, playing his parents, and their neighbour’s daughter Sophia, who wants to be his girlfriend, put up compelling performances.

The film, not yet commercially released, has already won the top prize at the annual London Indian Film Festival. It also brought the audience to their feet at the Indian Film Festival at the National University of Singapore where it was shown on March 15, the last day of the festival.

Narasimhamurthy, who is married to a Sri Lankan Tamil, has already begun work on his next movie, Distant Teardrop, set against the backdrop of the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict in Sri Lanka. It will be filmed in both Sri Lanka and the UK, he said.

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