Watching Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Raj Kapoor's Jis desh mei ganga behti hai, he learnt his first lessons - on communism, politics, simplicity and topics alike - from movie marathons at home; sitting by his grandfather who loved to elaborate on the themes represented in the films. With an initiation like that, it was natural for him to envision the dream of becoming a storyteller. Meet the the first time director of Oass The Dew Drop - Abhinav Shiv Tiwari. He straddled through television, documentary film-making and feature films in various capacities to step in the shoes of a director in 2012. Abhinav was in the Capital on 12 May for the screening of his film at India Habitat Centre.
With a best feature award at Sunset International Film Festival, Los Angeles, 2013, already in its bouquet, Oass The Dew Drop is getting raving reviews from the festival circuit. It is on it way to seek an international release with a screening at Cannes, Riviera 3 on 22 May.
How did you zero in on Kiku, your protagonist in the film?
Say about six years ago, I was working on a United Nation's short film. I went around GB road, the red light area of Delhi for research. While I was collating these stories, I met my protagonist. I was disturbed by the stories I was collecting, but Kiku was a silver lining in between. She came across like a forceful power in the face of adversity. I knew everything else had to wait before I make a film on her.
Tell us more about the 15 years old real life Kiku, who inspired you for this movie.
She was duped by her own aunt at a very young age and brought to this mayhem in Delhi. She says she doesn't like talking about it, not because she is apologetic; it's not her fault anyway. She shared her story only because the caretaker at the NGO asked her to talk to me; she curtly told me. She came forward to help others like her, when she was rescued from the brothel. There's a lot of hope in her story. And she is not one bit bitter about anything; doesn't hold grudges; and that's the best thing about her.
And how did the title of the film strike you?
Lying beside my mother last winter, I was casually talking about the film and it's subject. She came up with the word Oass - that means dew drops - in our discussion. I thought there was nothing that could explain this film in a better sense than that one word. The delicate and pristine story of Kiku's life juxtaposed with the chaos in the brothel was best summed up in that word.
The film is making rounds in the festival circuit since 2012. You even came to India Habitat Centre this May. Are you trying for a nationwide release for Oass?
Yes, we are in touch with production houses for a nation wide release in multiplexes. Besides, the film is also seeking an international exposure through a screening at the marketing section in Cannes.
Talking of your personal story, you have taken a leap from documentary film-making into features, is Bollywood the road ahead?
Honestly, documentary format entices me; but, it is not my bread and butter. I have worked on a lot of projects beyond that. In 2006, I worked on an international film, The Last Monk, then I made documentaries on exodus of Kashmiri Pandits and Indian Navy. Besides, I have even worked as a ghostwriter for so many productions in the early days. But I am open to sensible cinema. I am for the likes of Rajkumar Hirani's brand of cinema, which is an entertainer yet has a message for the audience.