Amreli filmmaker‘s Marathi movie to be screened at Cannes

RAJKOT: It‘s a moment of pride for this Marathi-origin Savarkundala born film maker. Abhijeet Khuman‘s 26-minute Marathi short film ‘Daivaar‘ has been selected for screening in this year‘s film festival to he held from May 8 to May 19.
Though this film has been selected in the non-competitive category, Abhijeet, a Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) pass out, is hoping for appreciation from the judges.

Abhijeet (29), born and brought up in Savarkundla of Amreli district, shot this film in the middle of March. This film, scripted and directed by Abhijeet, talks about farmer‘s distress and suicides in Maharashtra.

Talking to TOI over phone from Mumbai Abhijeet said: “This film touches the burning issue of farmers. When a farmer commits suicide, the government pays compensation to his family. However, this very compensation directly goes to money lenders. This film begins with a money lender visiting the house of a farmer who has committed suicide. The money lender asks the deceased farmer‘s brother to hand him over the compensation.”

Abhijeet completed his television director diploma in 2016 from the FTII. He along with his 11 classmates planned to shoot this movie with the budget they had. “When we were on a trip of a historical fort of Maharashtra in September last year we found that the vendors selling snacks and tea were all farmers who had been forced to switch their profession. Their tale of woes was moving and it inspired us to take up their issue in the form of a film,” explains Abhijeet.

Abhijeet has sent this film to Shanghai Film Festival for the approval of screening, and he is also trying to screen it in Dadasaheb Phalke film festival. The film has been shot near fort which is on the way to from Pune. There are only four characters in this film and all are local stage and movie artists. “The subject and story had the backdrop of Maharashtra and I wanted to take Marathi actors to communicate the spirit of the story. Hence, I decided to make this movie in Marathi. I wrote script in Hindi and English and my friends translated it into Marathi,” he says.

Abhijeet studied in Savarkundla till XII standard and then completed his engineering and MBA in Rajkot. He also worked in consultancy firm in Surat for a year. Then he went to Pune to study in the FTII. His diploma film Kalpvriksh got the national award for best cinematography. He also worked as an assistant director and writer in TVF play ‘Viral fever‘. His father has retired from GSRTC, while his mother teaches at a village school near Savarkundla.

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