STRINGS-bound by faith

A Travelouge love story.90min,35mm,1:1.85 aspect ratio,Dolby Digital,Colour,English/Hindi.2006.INDIA.

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Location: bombay, India

Son of a soldier, I was born in Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district, Bihar. My childhood days were spent in an earthy rural life. I was deeply inspired by the rich folk culture of Buddha’s own land, Bihar. Right from the beginning, I Grew up with real images of Melas, Ramleelas, Bahuripiyas, incredible rituals, strong religious milieu and the vibrant Mithila Art. Natural calamities like flood and drought gifted unforgettable images. Changing seasons of rural life on the bank of river Ganga matured into a sense of poetry and language. Wonder years passed chasing steam trains that passed through the fields of my native village. Listening to radio programs made for defense personals was my only window to the outside world. With such a treasure of inspirational experiences a story teller evolved. I am a practicing film maker in Bombay today.

On the name of religion dozens of Hindu hermits in saffron robes angrily burned the CDs and posters of 'Strings'.

Hindu hermits burn the effigy of Sanjay Jha, the director of Bollywood film Strings, during a protest in Allahabad, India, Monday, July 17, 2006.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Travelogue love story

This largely English language film is set, oddly enough, against one of India’s mega events of the Hindu faith, recognized as the world’s largest for its magnitude. The biggest Indian Spiritual showcase of Indian heritage “MAHA KUMBH” is the backdrop of the film – “Strings”. The film is actually shot during the event itself.
The pilgrimage city of Nasik plays host to the “Maha Kumbh” held once in twelve years depending on the cosmic position of the Sun, Moon & Jupiter in a particular formation according to the almanac. According to the Hindu mythology there was a battle for “Amrut” a sort of nectar granting immortality, between the Gods & the Demons. Nasik had the privilege of being one of the places where nectar fell from the urn whilst the battle was on. Over 50 million people come to the “Maha Kumbh” to pay homage & sustain within themselves a hope to achieve immortality. It has a ritual of bathing in the river that absolves the devotees of their sins. It is one of the biggest events that over whelms one by its sheer magnitude with respect to numbers and faith of the devotees who come together to experience “the great fair of the vessel of immortality” the “Maha Kumbh”. Strings is the story of an English man Warren, Krishna the daughter of Pandit Dinanath & Maya his friend.

Strings follows Warren Hastings (introducing actor, Adam Bedi), a British youth who has been persuaded to experience the Mahakumbh at the behest of his email friend, Maya (Sandhya Mridul), a cosmopolitan and Indian urban girl. Warren has another mission though. Warren is plagued by a sort of unfulfilled quest, for an understanding of the mysticism of India, beyond his realms of imagination. This has been nurtured within him by the writings of his grandfather in a personal diary written during his posting in India. Warren is a sensitive person & hence has set upon a journey to unravel the secrets. His quest is provoked by the reasoning of his grandfather as written in the personal diary.

Warren then meets Krishna (Tannishtha Chatterjee), the only child of a temple priest Pandit Dinanath (Vineet Kumar). Pandit Dinanath a widower has brought up Krishna since the loss of his wife at child birth. Krishna is filled with a sort of guilt & remorse because of her mother’s death for which she unconsciously blames herself. Pandit Dinanath by his teaching & logic has freed Krishna from her guilt. Krishna has grown up with an essence of Indian culture & its values, holding firm opinion & respect for her culture & religious traditions.

Krishna is a blend of having imbibed the richness of Indian culture while fitting in with contemporary life and thinking. Warren & Krishna meet in the backdrop of chaos & conflicts. Their diversity soon brings them close to each other, and is soon privy to the orchestrations of love. For her to accept the feelings she has for Warren and gives in to a forbidden love, is difficult. She does so define the tenets of her upbringing. Their life is blissful & stands tall to the power of togetherness until one day Krishna sheds her inhibitions & succumbs to her feelings. It is the tale of a girl who stands tall to the virtue of love and who is ready to shed her ethos even to the extent of defying her father, who has sacrificed his whole life for her happiness. The most hurtful aspect is the need to question her father, who has been her single minded support in life. An intriguing thought definitely is from where Krishna gathers this inner strength.

Strings is the story of life & relationship beyond the seen & foreseen.

Director's vision

Stretching the ties that bind...

“Om shabd (word) hi Brahma (divine) hai …shabd aur shabd aur shabd”. These words by the poet Nagarjuna give an immense internal power of imagery that is divine. “Om Bimb (image) hi Brahma (divine) hai.Bimb aur bimb aur bimb.”

It was in the days of monsoon that I conceived the theme of this story which was visually rich & spiritually deep. Being a travelogue film, it is about a man’s journey with the backdrop of Maha kumbh as the setting of the film which is bound in a documental style. The story involves realistic characters and situations but intermittently becomes a dramatic musical with surreal theatricality. Unlike my debut film, in which I had adopted the theatrical approach, this film has a cinematographic approach that fits the story and gives the visual style. I had a great crew and lot of luck. The movie is full of shots that prove it. My music director (Zubeen Garg) is the biggest ‘jugaad’ (the word doesn’t have a literal translation in English, closely it means making a rocket out of a bicycle) who blessed me with his Assamese music compositions.

I want the audience to also feel the event and journey within and also to share the same experience as the character does in the story.

I was seeking an experience of a spiritual journey in the film. The film has helped me to appreciate the fear that is felt by a number of new comers worldwide and to continue to survive as an independent filmmaker.

My aim was to make a beautiful film out of an unbelievably dire existence of support. We pulled in every favor we could get and people were supportive. But I had a true friend Mathew Varghese who believed in me and it is only with his support that I am able to share my vision. “We dare you to dream” is the logo for his Phoenix Productions and he believes in it completely. I vouch he does.

I am content with the knowledge that I have made, with the help of theatrical and sensual honesty, a unique genre film-a travelogue film of 2005 in Bollywood, India.

This note will only be complete when I am able to market this film one day..
Journey continues..

I would also like to thank all those numerous individuals whose constant support and enthusiasm kept my vision alive.
To the making of ''STRINGS''we have devoted three years of our lives.Every minute has been worth it!!
Love always.