Zoya Akhtar’s mentee- Amira Bhargava’s film ‘Aamer’ screens at Ajyal Youth Festival in Doha
'Aamer', a 15-minute film directed by Amira Bhargava, is part of the 'Journey into Life' section at the Festival.
Humara Movie an Indian YouTube channel and initiative that was launched in 2011 by Vinay Mishra, Preety Ali, Pallavi Rohatgi and Raghavan, specialising in providing a platform for young filmmakers & short films, has come up with an anthology of 7 short films titled Shor Se Shuruaat. The production house roped in filmmakers like Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar, Homi Adajania, Nagesh Kukunoor, Mira Nair, Sriram Raghavan and Shyam Benegal to mentor young filmmakers in a bid to bring new-age content to the audiences.
Zoya Akhtar’s mentee, Amira Bhargava first met each other on the sets of Dil Dhadakne Do, where the later assisted on the film. Akhtar saw a protégé in Bhargava, and mentored her for her first film, a short titled Aamer. “Zoya will never tell you what to do or not. Instead, she will make you ask certain questions. I’d end up finding solutions to my own problems. She taught me how to trust myself – that is vital for any first-time director,” says the 28-year-old first time filmmaker.
‘Aamer’ follows a hearing impaired boy, trying to make a living as a flower-seller on the streets of Mumbai. The film, having done the rounds of festivals in Chicago and France, besides India, is now ready to screen at the Ajyal Youth Festival in Doha at the Journey Into Life section, which is known to explore stories about children and young adults. This year, more than 100 films from over 43 countries are being screened at the ongoing festival.
The lead actor is a boy named Pawan Mandakale, from Salaam Balak Trust in Andheri. Bhargava had auditioned a number of children, especially from those who perform in ads, but was not satisfied. “They were talented, but I was not finding what I was looking for. I needed a certain kind of sweetness and vulnerability rolled into one. Having not met with any luck until that point, one day, I thought of trying my luck at Salaam Balak Trust. I walked into the Andheri shelter and the process was really smooth. I auditioned a few boys from there, and Pawan emerged as a clear choice. In fact, he was the first boy who smiled at me at the gate. I knew right then, that he was my Aamer.” Bhargava conducted a series of workshops with him to get him comfortable in front of the camera.
Amira asks the question, ‘is a peaceful life of silence better or a cacophonous life of hearing?’ through Aamer.
Shor Se Shuruaat will also feature other short films like Dhvani, Decibel, Azaad, Yellow Tin Can Telephone, Hell O Hello and Mia I’m – all made under the common theme of ‘Shor’ (Noise).