Coimbatore filmmaker Arun Karthick’s 'Nasir' gets nominated for the prestigious Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam

A still from Nasir

A still from Nasir   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


How does it feel to be a second class citizen? 'Nasir' explores the question

“Candid portrait of a gentleman's life reduced to second-class existence as a Muslim in an India characterised by rising Hindu nationalism”. That is the summary of the film Nasir as written on the website of International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR). It is one among the 10 films that has been chosen for IFFR’s prestigious Tiger Awards competition. The film’s director Arun Karthick, who is from Coimbatore, is overjoyed. “It’s indeed a big achievement for an Indian film to be chosen for the main competitive section. It will now reach a wider audience around the world. Tiger Awards is the premier section. Ten films compete for the award and the winner gets a cash award of €40,000!”

Arun Karthick

Arun Karthick   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Arun says the relevance of the story —animosity towards minorities — is expressed characteristically in Nasir. “When Bero Beyer, the director of IFFR, announced the selected films (which was telecast around the world through a virtual live press conference) he described Nasir as a peculiar and deeply human film made by a self-made filmmaker from India. It has been chosen for the unique narrative style with which the story has been told.

IFFR is more cutting edge than a Berlin Film Festival or the Cannes. “They encourage new experiments, different narratives, and films that are avant garde! A Tiger Award nomination is good for the film as there are just 10 films in all and people will watch all, unlike the big festivals where the competitive section often has over 25 films.”

Nasir is an Indo-Dutch co-production and has already won the prestigious Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR). The film is jointly produced by Stray Factory, Rinkel Film, Magic Hour films, Uncombed Buddha, Harman Ventures and Cent percent films. “The film was shot in Coimbatore but the sound and colour correction work was done in Amsterdam. The collaboration has also brought Dutch film distributors on board. They will take Nasir to art house theatres in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The French company, Stray Dogs, will distribute the film in rest of the world.”

Award matters
  • International Film Festival of Rotterdam’s Tiger Awards celebrate innovation, especially from up-and-coming filmmakers. They select filmmakers who are just three films old. They welcome films that try new forms and breaks away from existing film making language and grammar.
  • Arun Karthick’s first film Sivapuranam/ A Strange Case of Shiva, was screened at IFFR’s Bright Future category in 2016. Sivapuranam is a ‘one person drama’ about a young designer who gets obsessed with his world. There are no dialogues and no song or dance. It’s an Indie film. The film did the rounds at Mumbai Film Festival, Jaffna Film Festival to name a few. He completed the film with the financial award of Rs. 10 lakh from NFDC’s Film Bazaar.

Arun describes Nasir as “my response to the hatred that minorities are facing”. “The film stays true to the adaptation of a short story by Tamil author Dilip Kumar. Even while pitching for funding, we got very positive responses to the film because of the universality of the theme.” The protagonist of this film, Nasir, is a salesman in a small-town. “The film narrates one day in the life of a simple salesman. Politics is not spoken with words but made to feel through the detailed telling of an ordinary Muslim’s life. I am excited and curious to know how people will view it. I hope it resonates with audiences of all strata and create ripples."

Meanwhile, Arun is writing the script for his third film, a village drama. It is about a feud in families that run brick kilns in his native Thadagam near Coimbatore.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:16:34 PM |

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