Q What is Maacher Jhol?
Maacher Jhol is a movie about a young man and his reluctance in coming out to his father about his sexual orientation. The project is unique because we have started attempting a kind of mature storytelling through the medium of 2D hand-drawn animation about a person seeking acceptance for his own sexual identity.
Q What kind of story should our readers expect from Maacher Jhol?
As far as the storyline is concerned, it is the story of Lalit Ghosh, a professional artist staying in Delhi. He is in love with a man Ashutosh Gautam. They’ve been in a live-in relationship for a couple of years. Engulfed in fear, Lalit never told anyone about his sexuality, not even his family! But he knew he couldn’t bear being in the closet anymore. His love has many obstacles to conquer, including his own parents who are trying to find a suitable match for him. He has to vent his fear out.
This is a story is about the dilemma about how Lalit can openly express that he doesn’t want a girl and he already is in love with a man. He decides to come out to his father over a lunch table by cooking him his favourite dish, the fish curry. Maacher Jhol
Why is Maacher Jhol significant?
It attempts to make viewers introspect. We want to cherish the value of understanding and accepting homosexuality in the existing frame of society in the hope that Maacher Jhol will inspire many other real-life stories. Films are powerful; if it brings change to one, the filmmaker’s job is done. Again, Maacher Jhol is the first hand-drawn 2D animated movie in India to address the issue of homosexuality.
What inspired you to tell the story of an LGBT couple and how is Maacher Jhol different from [your other film] Chasni ( Sugar Syrup)?
A very close friend of mine came out and spoke about his sexual identity. I realized how difficult it is to remain inside the closet for so long. There are several questions like what if a person doesn’t find acceptance within his/her family, friends & society. All these things are hidden and it’s very important to put out an instance before everybody to contemplate.
In very simple terms, people come out in several ways before their close ones just to seek their acceptance for their own identity. So, in our film, there is a situation where the protagonist confronts his father by cooking him, his favorite dish, the fish curry, Maacher Jhol.
There are many things we see and read every day and express it on social media sites. People voice out their opinion taking either side and you, without even realising, become a part of it.
As an artist, as a storyteller, I too want to voice out my point of view. And I choose to tell a tale of things that are close to me, things which make me think. Chasni started with that. I was in Bombay doing my internship and spent a lot of time traveling. It was the same time when Preethi Rathi was attacked in Bandra. There I was wanted to express myself. The question was, how I should put it out? This was my first film! I didn’t care about anything and went ahead to create the movie. While the research was on I was very clear to not project violence. Rather I opted to speak on disfigurement & its aftermath. We are happy that the film got the excellent response all over the world.
Maacher JholThis is also the story of people with whom I have lived, eat and watched loads of films with. While Maacher Jol had food as a focal part of the plot, Chasni had tea. These are same I think. Only the context is different.
Q: Why name your films after food, first we had Chasni and now Maacher Jhol?
We named the film over a dish because personally, I love cooking. For me cooking and cinema are almost the same. In both of them the output is the taste and it depends on viewer/ person who tastes it. Another aspect, was we wanted to show our culture through food. Even for a simple dish like Maacher Jhol, we prepare it with great effort and delicacy, mixing several ingredient and spices carefully.
The colour of this preparation is a dark shade of orange and with white rice beside it one is bound to have a hungry heart. Also, it is spicy to tongue that is a tantalizing counterpart to the neutral taste of rice. So, we find a perfect balance of food composition. Life is all about the balance struck between contrasts!
Some day if I earn a decent amount of money, I want to cook Biryani for people around me. It will be like a kind free meal every day. And I want to cook myself (N: cook one’s own body parts???) with all sorts of details. This inspiration I got from a Malyalam Film Ustad Hotel. किसी ने पूछा- किस भगवान को मानते हो?
मैने कहा- बिरयानी 🙂
Chasni has much more significance as it was the drink of compromise. Tea is a kind of drink which is the essential thing to start your day. Suppose you want to have an awesome, fresh glass of tea in the morning and you realise that there is no tea powder. And that even you can’t fetch it on your own because you have been ostracized from the society. At the moment you will drink it with only sugar and water. The drink of compromise.
Q: Why do we need your support? (N: Isn’t it “why do you need our support??????”) (Alternative question: “Do you have any last works for our viewers?” the original question looks damn weird, coz it looks like you already know that he is going to ask for help. And who is the “you”? Is he asking for donations? What help does he want?)
Animated short films are not easy. Making the storyboard, illustrating, drawing, painting, animation demands a lot of coordinated efforts from artists and professionals. Further, for the promotion of the film and sending it to Film Festivals funds are required. The One Lakh Rupees grant from Jamuura Films helped us to start of the project but we require your whole hearted support to move this endeavour to maximum.
About the Director: –
Abhishek Verma is a post graduate from IDC-IIT Bombay, currently living and working from Delhi. He is he director of the critically acclaimed short film Chasni, which has been screened in more than 30 film festivals around the globe ; the film having bagged nine awards across its journey . Maacher Jhol is Abhishek’s next film, for which he has been awarded the Jamuura grant. Currently Abhishek’s team constitutes of four dedicated members: Jayesh Bhosale, Sarath Warrier, Mu-Shi and Suyog Happe.
Presently, this team of five are done with the pre-production of this film. However, the director and his team earnestly request your support so that they can complete the film smoothly all the way to post-production.
Help the director of the internationally acclaimed animated short film Chasni (The Sugar Syrup) to complete his next project – Maacher Jhol (Fish Curry). To learn more about Crowdfunding follow the link below and hear the director Speak.