How I made it: Sifar (2019)
Updated: Aug 5
The film is based on "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry with classic spin on it. Sifar has been to several film festivals across the world and has won several awards. In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of Director of the film - Dhruv Sachdev.
100 Min | Hindi | Drama, Romance | 2019 | India
SIFAR (Emptiness) - depicts the journey of Ayesha; an author with a dark past. The story is narrated by the female protagonist - Ayesha. The narration is done while she is in discussion with her therapist.
Why this subject matter for your film.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry has always been a classic - and we wanted to put a classic spin on it. We wanted to give this sweet story an extremely dark setting - and showcase that no matter - the language of love remains universal.
Interesting Fact :Electricity was a big problem as the shoot was done in the interiors of Haryana. Generator use to take 30 minutes to start, so playing cricket became a daily ritual everyday till the time electricity wasn't there.
Where did you find this story for this film?
To be honest - as our film was an adaptation -the story was always right in front of it. To give this story a dark feel was the challenge. Thus, to push the envelope - we made our protagonists a courtesan and a gangster - and even in such a dark setting the beauty of the story remained - its innocence stayed with the global audience.
What were the challenges you faced in making the film?
Being extremely traditional film makers - the challenge apart from the usual "budget" angle remained the script. We didn't in any way want to hamper the classic - thus every team meeting was nothing but a deep discussion on the script.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
As the film performed well in all global film festivals - we found exhibitors. The Indian market was helmed by PvR via the Vkaao platform - in London we premiered at Gold Movie Awards (Regent Square Theater) - and as the word spread the movie was screened in over 20 + countries. Thus, making us believe that the language of love is universal.
What was your background before making your first film?
I come from a hardcore corporate background - working primarily with Management Consulting firms. That being said - film making is a passion turned profession now which is surely here to say.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
I think it all goes back to the script and the conviction you have in the story. If its a beautiful script - actors / technicians / studios - all help to make the product viable. SIFAR got love from every person involved in the film - and that resulted in 32 official selections and 30 international awards. More so - in the limited screenings which we got every where - we ran to packed houses.
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