During the WIFW Spring-Summer 2014 Manish Arora and Bharat Sikka had a special screening of their movie – Holy Holi. The 5 minute film conceptualised by Manish Arora and directed by Bharat Sikka won ‘The Best Soundtrack’ and ‘The Best Emerging Talent’ at the 6th A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF 6) festival held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The film – Holy Holi featured Bishi Bhattacharya, a songstress based in London. Bishi’s soundtrack – Dia Ti Maria won the ‘Best Soundtrack’ for the Arora-Sikka film. Must say it’s quiet an achievement for debutant film-makers! You can see the film here: http://youtu.be/e6NaOCCqgz8
Holy Holi celebrates the widows of Varanasi who broke the centuries old tradition by playing Holi this year. As the scene opens, we’re enveloped instantly by something that’s lonely and has been left to wither away and decay. Forlorn and alone, we see Bishi’s back turned to the camera as she walks down an inner lane of a village inviting dusk. She joins a congregation of young and old widows in a prayer room, all dressed in white saris and at different points of degeneration. They look dusty like old objects. There is a transition and an explosion of color with a celebration in the streets of a small village where there’s confusion as well as excitement among its dwellers in the novelty of the few 50 widows that reluctantly and joyously (secretly) mingle around and amongst the village people. With smiles that they’ve finally broken into, covered in Holi color and Manish Arora’s vivid clothes. We now understand that the forgotten women are part of the community again. But only for a short while. Bishi is then captured and sits in a small boat in a lake, rowed by a single small man, half her size. He cannot fathom why she sings an inaudible melody. She is dark, strong, and her eyes along with her voice are like two in a band show after a long journey.