After a long and fruitless wait for the censor’s nod, the makers of ‘Kaafiron Ki Namaaz’ released it on YouTube. With over a 300 thousand views in less than two weeks, the film has exploded on the site, and is poised for more success. The film produced by Assam born filmmaker Bhargav Saikia, could not be released at the theatres much to everyone’s disappointment. The film was stuck with the censors for an extensive period of time, prompting the filmmakers to release the film themselves on a digital platform to ensure that it reaches the audience without restrictions.
“There were significant delays regarding the censor certification, especially the title which hasn’t been cleared since 2011. The board also had a problem with certain scenes that make strong political comment. The producers’ association feels that the title is too sensitive,” says Bhargav. The film directed by his buddy Ram Ramesh Sharma, was ready in June 2013. It participated at Film Bazaar Goa later that year and premiered at the Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea in May 2014 in the main international competition section. The film has since been screened at festivals in Kolkata, Ladakh, Guwahati, Delhi and Mumbai to packed audiences and critical acclamation, and what’s more, the film’s title, which literally means prayers of non-believers, has been praised by most people.
Keeping the promise of its title, this human drama with shades of a thriller shocks at times and soothes at some surprising moments. An army officer who has been court-martialled, a writer and a musician confess their secrets on a rainy Christmas eve somewhere in Srinagar. What begins as a dramatic discussion in the room of an abandoned hotel soon turns into a chilling meeting that raises pertinent social questions about nation and violence.
The filmmakers have left no stone unturned, looking after all the departments with intensity and passion. It reached the audience it needed to reach, even though its via online. However, Bhargav is hopeful that his film will bring a respectable audience base to his production company and also highlight everyone’s hardwork.
In a wonderfully surprising bit of news, ‘Kaafiron Ki Namaaz’ was even taken up as a study material in an e-classroom of the University of La Laguna in Spain. Also, the film will be screened and discussed at a prestigious Scottish University very soon.
Bhargav Saikia feels the students are quite enthused by what the film has to offer. “There are a number of relevant socio-political issues raised in the film, which range from an army man expressing his views about Mahatma Gandhi to the relationship between the state and citizens, rape by the armed forces, fake encounters, violence, Kashmir and so on. Apart from the film’s bold content, the unique structure of the film may also be a case study in an academic environment,’’ explains Bhargav. Apart from Kashmir, a major part of the film’s shooting took place in the Jyoti Chitraban Studio.
The two-hour, 29-minute film is the maiden production of filmmaker Bhargav Saikia’s Lorien Motion Pictures. While the film was still under production, the banner produced the much feted short film ‘Awakenings’. Bhargav made the leap into filmmaking for the first time with this beautifully shot horror film which has been critically praised in countries like Spain, Germany, Belgium, USA, Australia among others. It continues to scoop up awards in major international film festivals across the globe. To Bhargav’s credit, it has to be mentioned that both the films have stuck chord with an international audience.
Bhargav has now major plans for his production company in relation to the horror genre. He is currently developing a horror-drama feature film script in Hindi. He is also on the lookout to make stories set in Assam.