Inspired from 2008 serial bombings in Ahmedabad, ‘Sameer’ is the first mainstream Hindi film, with its root deep into the milieu of Ahmedabad. Film’s director Dakxin Bajrange has spent decades in steering Ahmedabad’s Budhan Theatre as the voice of marginalised, with ‘Sameer’ he puts to use the tool of cinema to tell the story about politics of perception.
The hustle-bustle atmosphere of Hyderabad collapses under a horrendous terrorist attack. Mistakenly capturing an engineering student for interrogation, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) takes him to their special branch at Ahmedabad. They turn him into an ATS undercover informer in a bid to find the real suspects. Directed by critically acclaimed documentarian Dakxin Bajrange Chhara, Sameer is a Hindi thriller based on a political setting – inspired by that solemn day when 21 serial bomb blasts shook the city of Ahmedabad in 2008. Dynamic actor Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays the lead actor in Sameer, has been cast opposite talented dramatists like Subrat Dutta, Anjali Patil and Seema Biswas. The trailer is impactful and showcases each performer in excellent form.
In 2008, Chhara set off with camera in hand to document the aftermath of the 21 bombings that terrorised Ahmedabad. Meeting the victims of the blasts prompted him to bring their stories to life. The movie Sameer also depicts the story of the children who went missing during the 2002 riots, who were declared dead by the authorities in 2009, within seven years of their disappearance.Hailing from a community that has been stigmatised by society ever since the British times, Chhara is a man of change. As part of the Budhan Theatre movement, the filmmaker, playwright and self-taught dramatist has worked towards improving societal impressions about communities that have been wrongly stigmatised. Chhara’s next project is also a native story of Ahmedabad, based on a woman from the Chhara community who perceives thieving as more of an art or a skill, rather than a punishable offence.
A filmmaker who has been associated with the grassroots of the art of performance through community plays and street shows reflecting the social issues of the rural society, Chhara has so far written ten plays, supervised more than 47 dramas, executed performances of 700 shows, directed 50 TV programs and made 20 documentaries. The soon-to-be-released Sameer is analogous to a visual art piece –a film that brims with sentiments, political outlook and the layman’s turmoil. Even though the arrangements for the film place it in the league of mainstream cinema, Chhara has visualised it as parallel cinema. So audiences should not expect recitalists to revolve around oak trees in step to background tunes and setups comprising vibrantly attired backup dancers.
Releasing on September 8th, 2017, at your nearest theatres, Sameer has received critical acclaim during its screenings at both Charlotte Asian Film Festival and the New York Indian Film Festival in the United States. But at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in India, the movie had to go through some serious scrutiny. This resulted in 7 deleted sequences – including of one portraying 3rd degree Police Torture – the muting of cuss words, which Chhara believes are indispensable requirements for a film that portrays a sinister topic like terrorism, and finally, the cropping of a dialogue mentioning the words ‘Mann Ki Baat’, which incidentally coincides with the name of Prime Minister’s radio show. It was a challenging time for Dakxin and his producers and they took the matter to FCAT for review. As a narrator, he considers it as a compromise, but Dakxin saw more value in ensuring that the film reaches to its audience.
Sameer can be considered as Ahmedabad’s doorway for Mumbai’s Hindi Filmdom since this is the first such mainstream Hindi film that has been shot almost entirely in the local vicinities of Ahmedabad. Off late films like Kai Po Chhe and Raees were shot in Ahmedabad, but Sameer will put forth a more ‘insiders’ view of the city. It may also be the city’s first example of Hindi cinema where the DOP, assistant directors, writer (Karan Vyas), makeup artists, technicians, most of the crew members, and director Dakxin Bajrange all hail from the city of Ahmedabad. While the Mughal-Jain architecture of this World Heritage City is increasingly attracting people today, the movie is largely centred about its remote slums and ghettos –like Khodiyar Nagar, Ram-Rahim Nagar, and Charanagar – which are usually left untouched because they are perceived dangerous vicinities.
Chhara is not only deviating from the traditional modus operandi of making films but is also generating revenue opportunities amongst the vernacular creative fraternity.
Be there in theatres to witness the change in Hindi cinema by yourself! And stay tuned to CreativeYatra.com for more updates on Sameer.
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