‘Naya Pata’ – tale of migrants’ identity loss in big cities
A young filmmaker has put the spotlight on the identity loss migrants suffer in big cities in his film ‘Naya Pata’
The film was made on a “less than shoestring budget” through “crowd-funding” captures the agony of being uprooted from one’s native land in search of work and the ensuing pains of “reconciling with losing one identity unwillingly and assuming another reluctantly”.
Made with a budget of Rs 8.5 lakh, the film has been directed by Pawan K Shrivastava who hails from Chhapra district in north Bihar.
Srivastava said he wanted to make the story for years. It is set against the backdrop of closure of sugar industry in the state during 1985-1990.
“The migration of people out of Bihar has always troubled me. But, that aspect has been highlighted in news media, documentaries and few films already. But, what I wanted to show to people was the severe agony of identity loss these migrants suffer in big urban cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata,” Shrivastava said.
The 29-year-old director says he was inspired to crowd-fund his movie from filmmaker Onir’s “I Am”. Also, the director did not want to “let go of the creative control from his hand”.
“I finished my script by the beginning of 2012 and approached a few producers but all rejected it saying “it lacked plot and masala and item-numbers.”
“But, I never compromised on my script. I used social media and emails to reach out to people and funds started coming in, from Bihar, outside the state and abroad too,” he said. Shrivastava says 60 per cent of the funding was from Bihar and the rest 40 per cent from other states.
“People of Bihar of course gave maximum support. I got fund from my own district too. Outside, people from Punjab, Hyderabad, Delhi, and Bangalore sent money to us. A Bihar-origin NRI in Australia sent a big sum to us,” he said.
“This is the democratization of cinema. I made it through people’s co-operation, but I made it on my own terms,” he said.
The film is shot primarily in a village in south Bihar’s Rohtas district. A couple of scenes were done in Chhapra and a few montage shots in old Delhi streets.
“We camped for about 15 days straight in the scorching May heat but I received full support from my entire cast and crew who worked without getting a single penny,” he said.
Chandra Nisha, who played the role of Sandhya in the film, says the director found her on Facebook and offered her the role.
“I am very proud of being a part of this film. I am also a migrant. I hail from Bihar, but did my schooling in Delhi, college in Patna and now live and work in Mumbai. We are constantly getting ‘Naya Patas’ (new addresses) in our lives,” Nisha said.
The 93-minute film is bilingual with a mix of Hindi and Bhojpuri.
“For next eight months we will be focusing on film festivals and then we will seek the official release. We have already sent it to IFFLA (Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles),” he said.