Raam Reddy’s ‘The Fable’ starring Manoj Bajpayee bewitches the audience at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival

February 17, 2024
'Thithi' director Raam Reddy's new feature 'The Fable' starring Manoj Bajpayee bewitches the audience at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival

National award-winning filmmaker of ‘Thithi’ Raam Reddy’s second feature as a writer-director ‘The Fable’ had its World Premiere at the prestigious 74th Berlin International Film Festival to a packed house of audience. The premiere and Red Carpet was attended by the lead cast Manoj Bajpayee, Deepak Dobriyal, Priyanka Bose along with the crew, followed by a screening on 17th Feb which took place in the historic and iconic cinema ‘Zoo Palast’, the largest venue at Berlinale. The morning show saw a great turn out of the audience.

‘The Fable’ selected in Encounters is the second Indian film in 30 years in a key competitive section of Berlinale. Conceived as a counterpoint and a complement to Competition, Encounters is a competitive section devoted to new cinematic visions, aiming to foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers.

Shot on film (16 MM) in Uttarakhand and set in 1989, the film follows the journey of Dev (Manoj Bajpayee) who discovers mysteriously burnt trees in his sprawling estate of fruit orchards nestled in the Indian Himalayas. In spite of all efforts, more fires break out, leading him to see himself and his family for who they truly are.

The Indo-US co-production boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Manoj Bajpayee, Deepak Dobriyal, Priyanka Bose, debutant Hiral Sidhu, child actor Awan Pookot and a special appearance by Tillotama Shome.

‘The Fable’ is Raam Reddy’s second feature, following the success of his internationally acclaimed and National Award-winning debut film ‘Thithi’ (2016) which garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, winning over 20 international awards and securing worldwide rights with Netflix.

Excited about the audience response at Berlinale, Raam Reddy says, “The premiere of The Fable at Berlinale yesterday was incredible! The premiere sold out in less than an hour and our second screening today with almost 1000 seats is also sold out. But most importantly, it felt like a celebration, and after all our hard work, the excitement and intrigue felt by the audience was beautiful for me to finally experience first hand.”

It was amazing to have Manoj (Bajpayee) ji and my lovely cast (Priyanka Bose, Deepak Dobriyal) and crew with me during this dream-come-true moment! We feel like a family, and the bonds we all share as a team made the premiere all the more special.

Last but not least, the Q&A post screening started with a lady, who attends festivals regularly, saying it’s the best film she’s ever seen in Berlinale. And a top French Producer who produced Annette (Opening film of Cannes Film Festival, 2021) called the film “Gigantic, Truly brilliant.” Hearing these things brought tears to my eyes.”

Raam Reddy’s ‘The Fable’ begins in Spring of 1989. Dev, a soft-spoken man, owns a sprawling estate of fruit orchards. He lives with his family in a colonial bungalow high up in the Indian Himalayas where even birds fly low to avoid getting lost in the clouds.

He spends a lot of his time building human-sized bird wings which he often straps on his shoulders to glide over the orchards for a quick morning flight. One day while walking through his estate, he comes upon a single mysteriously burnt apple tree. A few days later, he discovers more burnt trees. Layers of society begin to unravel, as the workers in the orchards fall under suspicion by Dev and his manager. Doubt also falls on a group of meditative nomads. A corrupt sheriff enters the fray, while loyal men camp out in the orchards, keeping a vigilant watch to hold fires at bay.

In spite of all efforts a massive fire erupts a week later, engulfing an entire mountainside of the orchard. Struggling for answers, Dev turns to both guns and silence. The slow burning of the orchards forces Dev to see the truth of his disillusioned comfort, eventually leading him to see himself and his family for who they truly are.

Raam Reddy, 34, is a writer and director who studied Direction at Prague Film School. In 2009, Raam wrote and published an English-language magic-realism novel titled ‘It’s Raining in Maya’. His debut feature film ‘Thithi’, an Indo-US production, won Golden Leopards for Best Film and Best First Feature at the 2016 Locarno Festival. The film has since won over twenty awards at various film festivals including Palm Springs, Shanghai, Marrakech and Mumbai. It was also invited to the New Directors/New Films program at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The film was a commercial success, running for close to 100 days in theatres in India while also streaming worldwide through Netflix. In February 2016, Raam Reddy was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of achievers.

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