In a small town riddled with territorial disputes between two linguistic communities, Raghu, a radicalized journalist, works for an online media that acts as a mouthpiece for an extremist leader. Raghu is strongly influenced by the man’s words and believes that his community has been wronged. But when the line between his professional and personal life starts blurring, and Raghu is faced with some inconvenient truths, he chooses denial and starts to act impulsively, causing sinister events that will have him reflect on a simpler time. A time when he was not a radicalized young gun, but a man who had not yet succumbed to the identity crisis perpetuated by a divided society. Follower is the nuanced story of this radicalized youth as he navigates and then peddles a one-sided tale of a society divided by religion, language, and beliefs. On his journey, political opinion will overpower familial equations, old friendships will suffer from irreparable loss, but life will have to go on.
Born in Belgaum, Karnataka, HARSHAD NALAWADE received his Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Symbiosis University in Pune. Since then, he has worked as an Assistant Director on various advertising films and has directed four shorts (Kirdaar, Trivikrama, A Return Gift and Bubbles). He has even co-written his own Netflix Original Show entitled Soup. Dreamed up in 2018, Follower is his first feature film. Initially financed through crowdfunding for fear that no producer would embrace such a hotly political topic, the project eventually got selected for the National Film Development Corporation of India’s Film Bazaar Work-in-Progress Lab. It is based on the director’s own experiences growing up in a linguistically marginalized community of a border city and seeing how his people’s victimhood became an easy target for the peddlers of hate. Says Nalawade: “Our story digs deeper into the protagonist’s life and the social structure of the town and attempts to explore an era infected with hate, propagated by misinformation about each other. The idea of ‘Son of the Soil’ is perpetuated by the politicians and media for their benefit and, as a result, the attitude towards immigrants is getting more and more hostile. The mindset of ‘US vs. THEM’ has consumed a large part of our society.”
scr.: Harshad Nalawade | cin.: Saket Gyani | ed.: Maulik Sharma | snd: Rahul Gujar | mus.: Abhigyan Arora, Pranjal Gupta | cast: Donna Munshi, Harshad Nalawade, Shalini Chougule, Raghu Prakash, Atul Deshmukh, Umesh Teli, Mandar Jagtap | prod.: Vinay Mishra, Preety Ali, Pallavi Rohatgi, Raghavan Bharadwaj, Maulik Sharma, Saket Gyani, Samyak Singh
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$15 per ticket, plus H.S.T. ($1.95) & service fees.