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Sharad Raj’s Ek Thi Maria, starring Irrfan Khan and Raghubir Yadav, released online after 30 years

The short film has been released by Pocket Films on YouTube.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Sharad Raj’s short film, Ek Thi Maria (Once there was Maria) has finally seen the light of the day, with an online release, 30 years after the film was made. An adaptation of a chapter from Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot, the film stars Raghubir Yadav, Irrfan Khan, and Sudipta Banwar.

Pocket Films has released the film on YouTube.

The film was made right after Sharad graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). With funds from his father, Dr Raj Kumar, who is credited as the producer, the film went on the floors but several challenges cropped up along the way. After being completed and with the funds exhausted, the film was only screened a few times for small gatherings before it was forgotten.

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However, with the encouragement of Raghubir Yadav and his business partner, Roshni, the dream to release the film was rekindled.

Speaking about the film’s release online, Sharad said, “To begin with, I realised I could digitise the film and get it subtitled. [The film’s] release was a shot in the dark. The technicians who were working hands on on the film told me,"Sir aap gold mine par baithe hain. Aisa content dekhne ko nahi milta... isko release keejiye” [Sir, you are sitting on a gold mine. One does not get to see this kind of content. Please release the film]. Then I thought of Pocket Films and they were kind enough."

He added, “Even today I remember the insurmountable challenges we faced shooting the film and then completing it. This one I owe to the cast and crew of the film and my father, it also becomes a homage to Irrfan now that it is seeing the light of the day when he is gone.”

Sharad Raj has also directed the feature film Ek Betuke Aadmi Ki Afrah Raatein (2019).

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