ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Post-Production Fund

2022 Post-Production Fund

LIST Mariam
Category Asian Project
Project Mariam
Director Arvind PRATAP
Country India
Director's Profile Arvind Pratap is a self-taught screenwriter and director. He was born and raised in a small village in India. After completing his MBA in marketing, he changed direction to begin filmmaking in Mumbai. He is best known for making indigenous and realistic films, with both professional and non-professional actors. He is an avid lover of artistic world cinema. Arvind’s first two feature films, The Reluctant Crime (2020) and Life is Suffering. Death is Salvation (2022), both enjoyed successful runs at various film festivals.
Mariam portrays the traumatic and challenging journey of a surrogate mother, who must decide between the survival of her family or her moral values.

This is the story of a migrant couple, Mariam and Abdul, living with their three daughters in a slum in Mumbai, who face a struggle for survival, in this city of excess, after the lockdowns caused by the Covid pandemic. Mariam must break the law to get the money her family so desperately need. Being a mother with aspirations, she strives to give her three daughters a proper education and works as a maid in a posh apartment. Her traumatic journey becomes all the more intense when Mariam discovers the unexpected consequences of her decisions. Mariam’s family and her dreams for her children face a series of hurdles. What must she do, against all the odds, to protect her family?
Director's Note
Spending some time in the slums of Mumbai, I explored the lives of migrant workers in detail. The story of Mariam came from those experiences. The lives of migrant workers became more challenging during the Covid pandemic. Many were compelled to leave the city; some compromised their moral values. Though hailing from a conservative community, Mariam is a woman with a progressive mindset. She wants to educate her three daughters, despite her meagre earnings. She sacrifices her comfort and accepts a proposal of surrogacy.
The cinemaphotography is intentionally focused on the characters’ movements, with the pace of the film being relatively slow and quiet, amidst the noise of the streets, to reflect the rhythms of this critical time of life during the pandemic. My aim is for the audience to resonate with the characters’ struggles for survival and be entertained.
Realism has always enchanted me. I have tried to capture the poignant emotions, genuine reactions and rhythmic expressions of the characters, blended with social, cultural, economic and political elements.
2022 Busan International Film Festival - A Window on Asian Cinema
2023 Indie Meme Film Festival
2023 Ottawa Indian Film Festival
2023 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne
Still Cut