The premiere of veteran theatre personality Anamika Haksar’s award-winning directorial debut Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Ja Riya Hoon (Taking The Horse To Eat Jalebi) held at Soho House Mumbai was a night to remember. The screening of the film followed by an engaging Q & A was attended by the film fraternity including Naseeruddin Shah, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Shabana Azmi, Jim Sarbh, Swara Bhasker, Rajat Kapoor, Richa Chaddha and Ali Fazal along with producer-director, Anamika Haksar, actors Ravindra Sahu, Lokesh Jain, editor Paresh Kamdar, costume designer Sneha Kumar, colorist Sidharth Meer, audiographer Gautam Nair and distributor Shiladitya Bora.
After having its World Premiere at Mumbai International Film Festival and an international premiere in the New Frontier section at Sundance Film Festival 2019, the film was slated to release in 2020 but got pushed due to the pandemic. The film produced by Gutterati Productions and distributed by Platoon One Films is gearing up for a limited theatrical release on 10th June across Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Pune and Jaipur.
The producer-director, Anamika Haksar who has waited for a long time for the theatrical release of her passion project said, “As we prepare to present the film to Indian audiences, I am delighted that the exciting journey of the film has reached its conclusion. It means so much to independent filmmakers, who often do not get the chance to have their work released. I am so thankful for the kind of love and support I’ve received with this project over the past few years.”
Renowned filmmaker and screenwriter Saeed Akhtar Mirza gave thumbs up to the film saying “Ghode ko Jalebi is one of the most outstanding movies that I have seen”. Noted actor Naseeruddin Shah said, “The film is particularly moving for me because I spent much of my childhood in Delhi, and I think it is a wonderfully executed love letter to the old city, the sound, the photography, the editing, and the whole concept behind the film. It is very complicated and it will take a while to assimilate what the film is trying to say but it’s a tremendous experience watching it”.
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Actor Jim Sarbh who had seen the film at Sundance came for the second viewing and said, “My favourite thing about the film is that it takes the viewer into the inner life and depth of the characters that we would usually ignore. I love how it brings together so many communities in this old part of Delhi. Dreams have fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and to see someone weave a story out of so many varied dreams is incredible”.
Swara Bhaskar said, “I was absolutely stunned when I watched the film. It achieves what art must do, which is to provoke thought, provoke empathy and make us question not just the world as it is given to us but also ourselves. Anamika mam and the whole team shine a light on the world that exists all around us, not just in Delhi but in every city in the world; individuals we unsee so easily, but who are central to our lives and to every city’s lives. In that sense, it’s a very important film that everyone should see.” She added, “Additionally, in terms of form, it is very interesting because it was mentioned that it is part metaphor, part allegory, part installation, it has real elements, but there are also very stylized elements, and the music and sound design just sell a different story by themselves. All in all, it is an amazing achievement, and I feel both inspired and humbled at the same time.”
The film stars veteran theatre artists, Ravindra Sahu Raghubir Yadav, Lokesh Jain and K Gopalan and follows four main characters: a pickpocketer, a vendor of sweet and savoury snacks, a labourer-activist, and a conductor of ‘Heritage Walks’. Patru, the pickpocket, decides to take people on alternative walks, showing them the underbelly of the city but this causes trouble with local merchants and the police. He decides to conduct one last ‘Dream Walk ‘When Lali, the labourer-activist, too joins the fray, giving a speech urging workers to unite, he lands them all in jail. The professional actors blend with 350 street people to create what seems like a surreal tale of truth.
The film has traveled to nearly 35 plus international and Indian festivals and won 6 awards including, Best debut director, International Critics Jury Award, Best Script, Best Indian Cinema and special mention for cinematography.