Feature Films 2023

Away from the glitz and glam of Birmingham resides a community of illegal immigrants who are always in hiding, leaving no proof of their existence, not even their footprints. Among them is Raghu, a small business owner who fled India after being mired in a financial scam, amassing his meagre wages in the hopes of paying back his debt and returning home with dignity. Six years on, Raghu now works for a fraudulent solicitor who makes money creating fake passports and visa appeals, and who decides to reward his employee’s loyalty by finding a wealthy British groom for his daughter Meera. Raghu believes he has finally struck gold, but after a heated argument, Meera storms out of their home, prompting her father to set out on a quest to find her, all by himself, without coming under the police radar. This quest will reveal a secret side of his daughter’s life and make him realize that his pursuit of materialistic riches has jeopardized his relationship with the people that matter the most to him. Now, his only priority is to see Meera safe again. But is he too late?
Inspired by a real-life incident, Siya tells the tragic story of a teenage girl from Devganj village in Uttar Pradesh. After being brutally raped by an incumbent Member of the Legislative Assembly, she decides to fight for justice against all odds by seeking the help of a lawyer friend. But what kind of justice can a poor peasant girl expect against influential male members of the community? In the vein of Nisha Pahuja’s award-winning documentary To Kill a Tiger (2022), Siya constitutes a poignant and urgent reflection on the fate of sexual assault victims in a male-dominated society where accountability fades in the face of privilege. And while it is made to shock the viewer, particularly in its depiction of a deeply flawed justice system, the film remains quite restrained in its depiction of the barbaric acts perpetrated against the heroine. Emotional realism is the key to affect here, rather than the spectacle of her physical ordeal, allowing director Mundra to capitalize on Pooja Pandey’s profoundly empathic and painfully researched performance in the lead role.

Short Films 2023