Sindhis Taking Over the Filmy Scene

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Sindhis are easily one of India’s lost citizens. During the partition many Sindhi families were made to leave their homes in Sindh, now Pakistan, and move out. Left stateless in India, Sindhis were forced to search the globe and find their “homes.” They migrated to various corners of the world: Hong Kong, Dubai, Africa, the Carribean Islands, United States, United Kingdom and of course, India. However, during their course of relocation, many core values, including the dialect seemed to have faded into oblivion. While many Sindhi households still practice rituals associated with being Sindhi, more and more of the younger population have unfortunately lost their unique heritage.

To their rescue, debutante director Gopal Raghani will be releasing a Sindhi film catered for the Sindhi community, Zindagi Hik Natak (Life is a Drama). The director was quick to respond when questioned about the lack of Sindhi spoken amongst the youth nowadays, “Yes, young Sindhis do not learn Sindhi language but I am sure they that they all very well understand it and somewhere they are proud to maintain little bit of Sindhism in them. The young generation is well connected with each other.” The family film depicts the life of a theater actor who chooses the stage over his family only to realize he has made a dire mistake. The director is optimistic that the film will do well amongst the Sindhi community, “Subjectively this film gives an insight look in actor’s personal life and joy of watching a film in your own language… Believe me it’s actually enjoyable to speak in Sindhi with another Sindhi. You feel more connected.”

The star cast includes Sunil Jetly, who incidentally is not Sindhi but grew up surrounded in a predominately Sindhi area, studied in a Sindhi school and learnt to speak the dialect from his friends. Lead actress Mayuri Raghani, is well-known in the theater circuit and thus could relate to the script easily, “The film doesn’t talk about Sindhi culture in any way. But this film is just an attempt to get all Sindhis together. The youth in this community have hardly seen a Sindhi film. The subject of the film is good the film has come out in a good way and I hope all the Sindhis out there would go and watch the film in the theatres.” A fellow Sindhi, she too believes that the dying language needs to be revived in order for the younger Sindhis to develop an interest in the community, “It feels miserable to know that Sindhi community itself is losing love for their language. Even Sindhi artists, those who try to spread the message to save Sindhi heritage through their plays and films, they themselves don’t speak in Sindhi during rehearsals. They mug up their dialogues and that’s the only Sindhi part they speak.”

The story of the film is said to be as close to real life as they get, “The plot is about a theatre artist and his struggles in life and being a theatre artist myself I do know that a lot of actors in theatre industry go through such phases in life. It gets difficult for them to balance their social, personal and theatre life altogether,” claims actress Mayuri Raghani. The director sings in unison with the actress, “Through films, people connect with life because somewhere it has story of their own… It’s a fictional film about a theater artist who is not able to fulfill his wife’s and child expectations which he later realizes so yes we all might not be an actor but we all have a family and somewhere film has a story of every person and family.”

Director Gopal Raghani, who has been editor to popular television shows including the popular Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka, claims that the film is as technically advanced as any other Bollywood film in the market. Raghani is also sure that the film will be appreciated by the Sindhi market and otherwise too, “If we give good quality content based entertainment films to our community, our people will definitely come out of their homes to watch the film which is of their own language.”

Zindagi Hik Natak releases June 19th.

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