The Provocatively Titled ‘Kaafiron Ki Namaaz’ Releases Online
After being rejected for its provocative title not finding a theatrical release, ‘Kaafiron Ki Namaaz’ is on YouTube
While almost everyone will be heading to theaters over the weekend to watch The Jungle Book, there is also another new release that you could catch on YouTube for free. Kaafiron Ki Namaaz is a film made by two film school dropouts, which when after much struggle could not be distributed and exhibited theatrically, was finally released online this Thursday.
The Trailer of Kaafiron Ki Namaaz
The idea for the film was something that Ram Ramesh Sharma and Bhargav Saikia hit upon in 2011 while pursuing a course in filmmaking. “We eventually dropped out of film school in our final semester later that year to begin pre-production for the first shooting schedule in Kashmir,” says Saikia who turned producer for the film.
I always knew that Kaafiron Ki Namaaz would be a difficult film to make, sell and market, but that is one of the major factors why this film excited me even more. Challenges are always exciting.Bhargav Saikia, Producer, Kaafiron Ki Namaaz
So Kaafiron Ki Namaaz is about a recently court-martialed army officer, a writer and a musician who confess their most personal secrets to each other on a rainy Christmas Eve somewhere in Srinagar, Kashmir. What begins as a dramatic discussion between the army officer and the writer in an old, abandoned hotel soon turns into a chilling meeting raising some pertinent issues.
The idea of Kaafiron Ki Namaaz came to director Ram Ramesh Sharma while on a train journey from Mumbai to Delhi. Two of his co-passengers, who’d just met on the train and were discussing politics and social issues, got into a heated argument over a topic of discussion and began shouting and screaming at each other.
An amused Sharma observed the entire episode and then expanded the idea into what became his first film. “The idea of having people
from different walks of life and watching them interact felt very tempting to me. The
drama looked very pure to me. Ambiguous in nature, personal on its surface and
voyeuristic in its core,” says Sharma.
Shot mostly on Red One the film was shot in 29 days with actors from FTII. “The film was completely 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 their international competition section. Kaafiron Ki Namaaz was also screened at a number of other film festivals in 2014, including Ladakh International Film Festival, where it won the top 4 awards for Best Feature Film, Best Debut Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor. The jury was headed by veteran filmmaker, Mr Govind Nihalani,” recalls Saikia.
Though several production companies showed interest in buying the film, none of the talks with them worked out. The makers had seen several independent films bought by studios get stuck without a release date, and they sure didn’t want the same fate for their debut venture. So Saikia finally decided to release the film online so that it can reach the audience it deserves.
Kaafiron Ki Namaaz also ran into trouble because of its title, which hasn’t been cleared for certification since 2011. “The producers’ association feel that the film’s title is too sensitive. Because of the title’s certification rejection, we could not even proceed further. We are aware that there are certain scenes in the film which make a strong political comment. It is a conversational film, and there are many arguments and counter-arguments which are voiced in it,” says Saikia.
Ram and I were clear from the very beginning that we don’t want to present this film to the audiences with cuts and beeps because of the nature of the narrative.Bhargav Saikia, Producer, Kaafiron Ki Namaaz
Are Saikia and Sharma upset that their maiden feature film had to be released online for free viewing? Well, no. “Upset, no. Confident and optimistic, very much. A wider audience is the longing of any storyteller. I am getting the widest possible that way,” says Sharma. With this kind of passion and sincerity, we’re sure that this just a stepping stone for all things cinematically bigger and better for the duo.
You can watch Kaafiron Ki Namaaz here:
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