Short Film Profile

Do Pahar

Sudha, an old woman survives her remaining days on scraps of leftover food, abuse from her son and watching the world from the countless windows of her ancestral house. It's Diwali. For two days now, she's noticed a man, Bilal, outside her window waiting for someone. With unabashed curiosity, Sudha keeps vigil on Bilal. When Bilal catches her staring and confronts her, she audaciously invites him in for a glass of water. Do Pahar is about an unlikely bond that develops between an old woman and a hit man. As the afternoon progresses in wait for Bilal's target, Sudha kindles in him humanity and a few forgotten memories of his childhood while he, in turn, instills in her a newfound fortitude. Endearing and fearless like its protagonist, Do Pahar is a compelling tale about two people that blur the lines between right and wrong.

Film notes

What excited me about the writing (done over frozen Google chat windows and phone calls) was the unlikely bond between two people who apparently, couldn't be more different. Yet, while she kindles humanity in him, the killer by his very nature is an open invitation to confess her darkest desires.

Neeraj Sahay, our DOP who loves to go into excruciating depth of everything he does, grilled us sufficiently on the motivations of our story, causing us our fair share of turmoil.

We made Sudha, Maharashtrian just so we could shamelessly take advantage of the extremely talented, Rohini Hattangady's delicious Maharashtrian flavor. Bilal took more scouting till we finally met with Dibyendu Bhattacharya. With his rigorous theatre training and his body of work it was more a matter of us convincing him to do our film.

Rajendra Hegde, our Sound Designer with years of experience, was sporting enough to work on our miniscule short film for no money and tolerant enough to endure and indulge a lethal combination of very demanding and no experience directors.

The film was shot in four days but we needed another day and didn't occur until four months later by which time I was back in LA. Long distance co-writing clearly had its challenges but long distance co-directing was a whole new deal.

We were always on the same page with our Editor, Amitava Singha till he suggested that we end the film on just the sound of gunshots versus our version which has Bilal dying. My mother and I are hopeless romantics and wanted Sudha's yearning for Bilal to linger. And there was such romance in death! If he lived, Bilal would certainly come back to save Sudha killing their romance. No he wouldn't, Amitava unflinchingly declared. My mother and I were aghast. How could Bilal and Amitava be so heartless? Of course Bilal would return.He promises to! But then as the idea sunk in, I discovered the meaning of 'the truth of the moment'.

And the journey continues.
elderly abuse old age urban human rights


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Previous screenings

18 Jul – 22 Jul | Stuttgart, Germany
19 Sep – 30 Sep | San Francisco, United States
30 Jan – 3 Feb | Jaipur, India
Women's History Month Film Festival | 2013
7 Mar – 9 Mar | Newark, United States
Film Festival of Hope | 2013
24 Aug – 25 Aug | San Francisco, United States

Film details

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 4 Jul 2012