By R.M. Vijayakar
Mumbai: The Information & Broadcasting Ministry specially chose Zaigham Imam’s “Nakkash” (The Craftsman) to represent India’s spirit of communal harmony for the 71st Cannes Film Festival. The film represents a new and different perspective about India in the backdrop of the holy city of Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.
The Cannes festival is about to conclude its journey this year. From the red carpet of Indian Divas to the brilliant films, this year India made a lot of headlines there.
The first look of “Nakkash” was also unveiled in the India Pavilion, Cannes, on May 11.
The film represents secular Indian ideology knitted into the story with perfection. Filmmaker Imam said, “The positive response from Cannes and thought-provoking feedbacks from audiences are a delightful outcome to the hard work I put into making “Nakkash.” Inaamulhaq, the lead actor, was also present and was overwhelmed with the response.
This film is the third instalment of Imam’s trilogy of stories revolving around Varanasi. His first, “Dozakh: In Search Of Heaven” was based on his own critically-acclaimed novel with the same name. With its release in March 2015, Imam’s work was highly acclaimed by critics and won several awards and nominations in more than a few film festivals throughout the world.
In February 2017, Imam wrote, produced and directed “Alif,” his second feature film. While “Dozakh” made him popular with critics, his second film has been screened on a prestigious channel several times and was liked by the audiences.
Said Imam, “I was born in a Muslim family near Benaras. Since childhood, I had a peculiar relation with mosques and temples. That bond grew as I started my journey as a journalist. That fascination became the fuel to my stories.”
Imam made “Nakkash” with only one intention, to show that anyone can spread their wings, breaking all religious boundaries, and believes that “Nakkash” would force people to think hard and put prejudice aside.
“Nakkash” is produced under the collaboration of Imam’s AB Infosoft, Pawan Tiwari’s Jalsa Pictures in association with Govind Goyal’s Padmaja Productions and Piiyush Singh’s Muvizz.com.
Imam brings back the team of Inaamulhaq and Sharib Hashmi, the stars of the National award winner “Filmistaan.” Kumud Mishra, Harminder Singh Alag, Pawan Tiwari, Rajesh Sharma, Siddharth Bhardwaj, Simala Prasad and Anil Rastogi are also in the cast.
“Nakkash” tells the story of a gifted Muslim craftsman, Alla Rakha Siddiqui. Alla Rakha is a widower who has a son, Mohammad, and friend Samad as his only family. Alla Rakha believes in no religious boundaries and uses his craft of engraving in Hindu temples. For this, he gets boycotted by his community; Mohammad doesn’t get admission in a madarsa, and they face a lot of oppression from both the communities.
Samad, who is a poor rickshaw driver, wants to send his father to holy Haj but has no money for that. He steals the temple trust’s gold from Alla Rakha’s custody. Alla tries to keep Samad out of this situation, but Samad goes to jail for it.
A year later Alla gains popularity as a symbol of accord with a news article for which Munna, an aspirant Hindu politician, loses his election ticket. What happens to Alla, a cast-off from his commune and disdained from Samad and Munna forms the story.
(Courtesy: India West)