N Padmakumar’s ‘A Billion Colour Story’, which is a black and white film and turns to colour only at the end, was screened on the last day of Chandigarh Lit Fest,and it indeed ruled the day.
The film is about the topic of religious intolerance, revolving around a teenage boy Hari Aziz, born to a Muslim father Imran and a Hindu mother Parvati.
Dadri, Godhra, communal campaigns on social media, struggle to find a house in Hindu housing society, norms of a Muslim locality, resolve of a Muslim woman to leave hijab revolves around Imran’s struggle to make a period film - a love story that would stop the partition.
At one point of time in the film, Hari Aziz says that their family celebrates Christmas, so he is Christian too. A couple of scenes have cutaways of Buddha’s statue and there is an idol of Ganesha in family’s car as well.
Besides Hindu-Muslim divide, it also touches prejudices about complexion, live-in relationships and hate against north Indians in Mumbai.
During discussion with film critic Baradwaj Rangan, Padmakumar explains that the film is largely in black and white as a boy narrates it who doesn’t assign any identity to colours.
At the beginning, the narrator replies to his teacher on reasons behind the presence of 3 colours and chakra in national flag.
Kaushik says that film industry has been going through a transition phase and new ideas are coming. He adds that he was approached for a role in the film but after learning about the film, he offered to be a co-producer.
On his idea of India, Padmakumar replies that the country is full of contradictions and it loves and hates at the same time.
Made at a budget of `1 crore, both Satish Kaushik, film actor and co-producer, and Padmakumar shared the cost. None of the actors took money for the film.
The film has been earlier screened at Busan International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival and also at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.