Ah, you gotta check this one out! Conceptualised by Manish Arora but directed by Bharat Sikka, the film is about the Varanasi widows who were allowed to play Holi for the first time in 2013. It is just so artistically shot! Little wonder then that it took home the Grand Prix, Best Sound and Best Talent awards at the 6th edition of the ASVOFF, a festival for fashion films that took place from Oct 11-13 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
As the scene opens, we’re enveloped instantly by something that’s lonely and has been left to wither away and decay. Forlorn and alone, we see Bishi’s back turned to the camera as she walks down an inner lane of a village inviting dusk. She joins a congregation of young and old widows in a prayer room, all dressed in white saris and at different points of degeneration. They look dusty like old objects. There is a transition and an explosion of color with a celebration in the streets of a small village where there’s confusion as well as excitement among its dwellers in the novelty of the few 50 widows that reluctantly and joyously (secretly) mingle around and amongst the village people. With smiles that they’ve finally broken into, covered in Holi color and Manish Arora’s vivid clothes. We now understand that the forgotten women are part of the community again but only for a short while. Bishi is then captured and sits in a small boat in a lake, rowed by a single small man, half her size. He cannot fathom why she sings an inaudible melody. She is dark, strong, and her eyes along with her voice are like two in a band show after a long journey.
Director: Bharat Sikka
Concept: Manish Arora
Designer: Manish Arora
Music: Bishi Battacharya
Cast: Bishi Bhattacharya
Director of Photography: Tassaduq Hussain
Artistic Director: Manish Arora & Bharat Sikka
Stylist: Manish Arora