Interview

In my film, they celebrate death: Amar Kaushik on his award-winning Aaba


Speaking to Meenakshi Shedde, South Asia consultant to the Berlin film festival and a correspondent for Cinestaan.com, the director spoke about the joy of watching children appreciate his short film at the Berlinale, and the nature of sorrow in his film.

Our Correspondent

Berlinale 2017 saw a big winner in Amar Kaushik's wonderful short film, Aaba. The film was awarded the prestigious Generation K-plus International Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the international film festival. On the sidelines of the event, director Kaushik spoke to Meenakshi Shedde, South Asia consultant to the festival and a correspondent for Cinestaan.com, about the nature of death in the film. 

Kaushik said, "In my film, they celebrate death. For them, death is not taboo." Aaba's story revolves around the relationship between a little girl and her grandfather, whose death the family is coming to terms with.

The reception for the film at Berlin was overwhelmingly positive, with children being its most encouraging supporters. Kaushik said, "The response was amazing. Children were loving the film. I never thought children would love the film that much. I was standing in the podium, and they were doing (shows thumbs up) like this, saying 'Your film'.

"A mother and her child came to me. She told me, 'I am bringing her for the second time because she lost her father a few months back, and she was very attached to the film.' I don't know why. In my film, they celebrate death. For them, death is not taboo. I was getting goosebumps. For the mother to be bringing her child for the second time, I was very excited." 

The director also revealed how the idea of the film took shape from an incident narrated by his mother, who is credited for the story. He also explained that the setting of the film in Arunachal Pradesh was planned. "I was brought up in Arunachal Pradesh till I was in standard 6. So the basic things in me, I got from Arunachal Pradesh. All the childhood memories are from Arunachal," he said. 

Aaba marks Kaushik's debut as director. He had previously worked as associate director on No One Killed Jessica (2011).