Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2017 Projects

2017 Post-Production Fund

Project Ashwatthama
Category Asian Project
Project Ashwatthama
Director Pushpendra SINGH
Country India
Director's Profile Pushpendra Singh is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. His debut feature Lajwanti [The Honour Keeper] premiered at the 64th Berlin Film Festival in the Forum section. He has also acted in Max Linz’s German debut feature Ich will mich nicht kunstlich aufregen [Asta Upset] which also premiered at the 64th Berlin Film Festival and in Amit Dutta’s Aadmi Ki Aurat Aur Anya Kahaniya [The Man’s Woman And Other Stories] which won the Special mention award in the Orrizonti section at Venice Film Festival in 2009. He is a visiting faculty in the Department of Acting at the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune.
The mythical tragic hero Ashwathama, after the war of Mahabharata, was given a strange curse by Lord Krishna - that he would be immortal, but live forever with the pain of his wounds. Ishvaku who is on vacation from his boarding school is narrated this story by his mother before she gets killed in an attack by the bandits in the village. Ishvaku is sent to his maternal village situated in the Chambal ravines. The maternal family that is trying to hold its feudal values is on the verge of a break up, surviving only through its religious beliefs and display. Ishvaku has strange encounters in the village and the myth of Ashwathama comes back to haunt him again one day. The story is a metanarrative where mythological and real stories come together to follow the child′s internal and external journey.
Director's Note
I was born in a village situated around the ravines of the River Chambal along the borders of three Indian states ? Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This whole region, because of its closed terrain, is as if locked in time. People find solace in the rituals, songs and stories they share, and mythology gives meaning to their lives. These myths and the terrain have helped many men turn into rebel-bandits because of social and caste tensions. Over a period of time, local myths have also developed out of some bandits and their revenge stories. This story thus arose from a concern to share one of the many unknown sides of the Chambal and in turn also from exploring how legends and mythology affects and forms our daily life. In that sense, it is a very personal story of my own childhood and how it affected me. It’s a local story, but it explores how myths can be both claustrophobic and liberating.
Still Cut