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Waterbaby preview: Dive in to rise from the depths of fear


The film travelled to many film festivals, most notably the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival. Given its subject, Waterbaby ticks all the boxes of a family film.

Mayur Lookhar

Every person harbours some kind of fear. Our fears haunt us, but a little courage can help find ways to overcome it.

As a child, filmmaker Pia Shah was afraid of water. To rid her of the phobia, her parents got her to join a swimming class. At 6 or 7, her coach threw her into the deep end of a pool. The girl was left scarred, never to step into a pool again.

This fear had led Shah to tell an inspiring story titled Waterbaby about how a young boy overcomes his fear of water. The young boy is played by first-time actor Viraj Khemani.

Inexperience is often accompanied by the fear of failure. It's this fear that led Shah to rope in a first-time actor. Khemani looks the part as Shah’s Waterbaby. The film also has Lagaan (2001) actress Gracy Singh, presumably playing the mother. The trailer has no dialogue.

The term waterbaby usually describes someone who loves being in water. The filmmaker's muse musters the courage to overcome his fear.

Waterbaby is said to have some animation too. The boy apparently draws courage from a superhero character. The animation aspect will add value to the story. The angle of a boyhood crush is also refreshing and keeps the subject light.

Underwater photography makes for great pictures and videos. Based on the trailer, Waterbaby seems to have a rich visual appeal.

The film travelled to many film festivals, most notably the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival. Given its subject, Waterbaby ticks all the boxes of a family film.  

Waterbaby will be screened at the Bay Area South Asian Film Festival 2018 on 23 September at 7pm at Mountain View Centre For Performing Arts.

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BASAFF (Bay Area South Asian Film Festival)