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Muslims, Brahmins and 48 hours

The team behind short film Javed Brahman Hai, winner of the best film award at the Mumbai edition of the 48-hour film project in October, is gearing up for screenings at film festivals this month. Anu Prabhakar speaks to them about religious sentiments and Hindu-Muslim unity in Lucknow

The 48-hour film project follows a tough format. Competing teams are required to shoot a short film in 48 hours. However, Dahisar-based Visuals & Vocals, the production house behind Javed Brahman Hai, which bagged the best film award, had other concerns. Like presenting their well-meaning film in the best possible manner. Javed Brahman Hai is a humorous story about Javed, a Muslim, who agrees to disguise himself as a Brahmin and accompany his friends to a businessman’s house for a meal and other perks. The film will compete with the 48-hour film project’s best films from all over the world for the Best International Film prize of USD 5000 in early 2015. Excerpts from an interview with writers/directors Ramendra Vasishth and Rajendra Sapre.


A still from the short film Javed Brahman Hai

Q. How did you come up with the story?
A. Ramendra Vasishth (RV): The screenplay was inspired by a real-life incident that happened to one of our crew member’s friends. The friend accompanied his friends to a similar event and it was an awkward moment for him.

Q. The title of the movie can be misconstrued as controversial. Were you worried about that?
A. Rajendra Sapre (RS): Yes, that was the only concern we had — that it should not hurt sentiments. When people saw the film, they looked at it as a movie with a social message, although we didn’t intend it to be that way.
RV: The whole message of the movie is to do good karma — it doesn’t matter whether you are a Muslim or a Hindu.


Ramendra Vasishth, Rajendra Sapre

Q. The topic is always relevant in India. Is that also why you decided to make this movie?
A. RV: I come from Lucknow where there is a great mix of Hindu and Muslim cultures. I was never taught to look at Muslims differently. I have been to mosques while my Muslim friends have accompanied me to temples. In my growing up years, religion was not a parameter for anything.

Q. So what next for the film?
A. RV: Cyrus Dastur has already expressed an interest in screening our film at Shamiana this month. We are thinking of screening it at other short film festivals, such as the 3rd Mumbai Shorts International film festival on December 20. We are looking at other options as well.

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