Journalist-turned-director Bhavana Talwar's directorial debut Dharm that releases on Friday focuses on religious fanaticism and caste conflicts in India.
The film, which was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year, centres on Pandit Ram Narayan Chaturvedi (Pankaj Kapur), a priest who lives by his belief in the 'true Hindu way of life'. He fastidiously, almost fanatically, practises his religion, as per ancient Hindu scriptures.
Chaturvedi lives in the holy city of Varanasi and follows the prescribed rituals of prayers as well as the caste structure, which ordains that he is a Brahmin, the most superior human caste, and then there are others, including Shudras, who are untouchables.
Time goes by. One day, a Muslim woman abandons a child at his doorstep and Chaturvedi's wife, played by Supriya Pathak, decides to give him shelter.
The arrival of the child shakes the very core of Chaturvedi's beliefs and the way of life he has so strictly adhered to for 30 years.
What happens after that forms the climax of the film.
From the commercial point of view, the film might not be a gold spinner. But as far as content goes, "Dharm" promises to be a strong film with something to say.