Director Praveen Morchhale, whose film ‘Sir Madam Sarpanch’ (English title – ‘Behind Veils’) starring Seema Biswas recently bagged the INALCO Jury Award at the 29th edition of the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas (VIFFAC) in France.
The film is a critical satire of contemporary India, full of humour and subtlety. The director tackles themes with lightness as he stages the absurdity and dysfunction of family, administrative, political and social institutions in his film.
Reacting to the honour conferred upon his film, the director said, “It’s very rare that an Indian satire film wins a jury award at a reputed international festival in Europe. It was an amazing experience to see people laughing throughout the film at the absurdity of characters, situations, and their reactions to serious subtle issues of contemporary India. Generally, satire films hardly get invited to festivals around the world. I never expected the Jury too will love it and reward it but it happened”.
The film tells the story of a US-raised girl from India, Ana, who attempts to start a Library in her ancestral hometown in central India, her commendable intentions ignite a storm in the village’s politics and bureaucracy.
Her journey unveils how books can be perceived as dangerous for a prevailing system in India. Ana then stands for the Village Council elections to deal with this impasse and she encounters further absurdity in the political and social systems of India.
The director shared his hope that his film will become one of the most defining films in the space of Indian satires much like the cult classic ‘Jane Bhi do Yaron’.
He further mentioned, “The win of the film at the festival is testimony to the film’s ability to present serious issues in a unique and engaging way leaving an impression on the audience. Since ‘Jane Bhi do Yaron’, India has not produced any high-standard satire film in the last 2 decades. We hope our film will fill this vacuum”.
“‘Sir Madam Sarpanch’ deals with serious issues of contemporary India in the social and political arena in an absurd way that entertains and makes you think as well,” he concluded.