Aarti Neharsh’s debut short film produced by Green Chutney Films, The Song We Sang, is a love story of two women featuring Serena Walia and Ayushi Gupta, will have its India Premiere at 11th edition of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.
The short is nominated in two categories ‘Indian Narrative Shorts section’ and ‘The Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker’ at Kashish, which will be held online from July 22 to 30.
The Song We Sang is a romantic bittersweet tale about two people who find something in each other they have not found before. In its 20 minutes run time, it explores the warmth of an instant connection, heartbreak and choices.
The short film had its European Premiere at London Indian Film Festival in June in Satyajit Ray Short film competition category where it won ‘Special Jury Mention’. The film was originally scheduled for a world premiere at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) 2020, but the event has been postponed to next year due to the coronavirus outbreak. It will be screened at the International Film Festival of South Asia Toronto in August and The Imagine India Film Festival Madrid in September.
Neharsh co-wrote the script with Chintan Bhatt, who is also a co-producer in the project, along with Rahul Tejwani and Manan Bhatt of Green Chutney Films.
24-year-old writer-director, Aarti Neharsh whose graduation short film won the Best Student Film Award says, “It has been an overwhelming journey so far right from making the film to now bringing it to people who have received it with so much love and I am really excited for the Indian premiere. It is definitely special because it is also the first time the film will reach people here back home. I want to thank my producers at Green Chutney Films for making this happen and for believing in the story and in me right from the start. I also want to thank Nandita Das for her gracious and kind words on the film. It has really uplifted this journey.”
Producer Rahul Tejwani of Green Chutney says, “We have built a brand which believes in producing stories and backing young talent. The Song We Sang is our debut in fiction storytelling and hints at the cinema we want to do. You would be seeing more of such work coming from our talented team.”
Actor-director Nandita Das who starred in Fire, India’s first film exploring the love story of two women is all praise for the short film. “The Song We Sang, directed by a young filmmaker, Aarti Neharsh, celebrates the beginning of romance between two strangers. The short film is simple and sweet. It treasures and mourns its moments at the same time” she says.
When two people meet by a chance encounter and instantly have a rare connection, we often attribute it to luck and discredit the beauty of a conscious choice leading to that epiphany. The film explores the idea of such choices one makes & its possibilities leading to either a regret for life or a decision that changes your life forever.
Two strangers, Krishna and Alia, meet for the first time on a festive night of Navratri- a nine day Indian traditional dance festival. Romance blossoms between them as they walk the night in the lanes of Ahmedabad exchanging mythology trivia, laughter, street food and experiences of life only to realise it could lead to more.
Two women freely roaming the city, sharing a safe space in the absence of a patriarchal gaze and falling in love was something that I’ve longed to see on screen. This was a very instinctive thought for this love story. I really wanted to see two women walking the streets at night absolutely unapologetically — something that almost never happens in reality.
THE SONG WE SANG was initially conceptualized as a five-minute skype call between these two women- Krishna and Alia which eventually ended up becoming a 20-minute drama with them physically meeting and walking the city.
I am a huge fan of conversational films especially when it comes to love stories and I was really excited to explore that space. Even while writing the film, my co-writer- Chintan and I were conscious of the nuances we needed to bring into this story to do justice to this genre. We approached every conversation with the attempt to innovate in what we wanted to say, creating a world that was magical yet very real, also keeping in mind the mood and the cultural backdrop that really forms the texture of the film. But ultimately making sure the heart of it remains in the energy between Alia and Krishna.
Stories formed an essential element throughout the film. Ever since a child, I have grown up in a home where stories of all sorts- from mythical to classics to biographical- were given a lot of importance. My mornings used to start with my grandfather taking me to a garden and telling me these stories- something I’ve also slyly embedded very literally in one of their conversations as a nostalgic ode to those days with my grandfather. I remember being amused at this power of being transported to worlds so different, yet feeling so close to them and this I thought was a very powerful way of generating empathy.
Growing up in the city of Ahmedabad myself, I’ve always found Navaratri the one time when this otherwise conservative and rigid city loosens up and comes to life. I remember looking forward to it as a teenager because those nine nights of the year would feel like the most liberating and happy nights, not as much from the dancing crowds as much as it does from outside those grounds where people of all ages and walks of life are talking, laughing, flirting, riding on scooters and having chaat. It is this liberation and warmth that one feels on such a night that I wanted to bring on screen between these two women who happen to cross paths while seeking something common in their otherwise diverging journeys.
Producer’s Note –
“At Green Chutney Film we believe in producing original stories and backing young talent. The Song We Sang is our debut in fiction storytelling and hints at the cinema we aim to do. Aarti has been an internal part of our team and we feel really proud in producing her debut work. We are really thrilled with the response it has received across festivals and the journey has just started. As the success of The Song we Sang has begun and will continue across national and international festivals, we are now extremely motivated and excited to start pre-production of our first feature film by end of this year.” – Rahul Tejwani
Check out the teaser