India | 2018 | 84 min | Hindi, Marathi | Director Attending
1 Nov, 5:30 pm, Hermann Gmeiner Auditorium
Namdev Bhau is a 65-year-old chauffeur who’s near the end of his career and the end of his tether—driven mad by his family’s jabbering, his employer’s constant criticism and the ubiquitous noise of Mumbai. Desperate to escape, Namdev packs his bags and leaves for the fabled mountain retreat of Silent Valley—an area of Ladakh with almost zero-decibel sound levels. However, upon arrival, he is dismayed to find the locals are just as boisterous as the family he left behind. Worse still, an exasperating, hyperactive 12-year-old boy attaches himself to Namdev and asks for his company on an expedition to the mysterious ‘Red Castle’. There follows a devastating narrative twist that turns Namdev’s journey of discovery into something simply heart-breaking. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Himalayas, and featuring very little dialogue, this endearing black comedy is as visually striking as it is affecting.
Dar Gai was born and brought up in Kyiv, Ukraine. At the age of ten she joined the theatre group Incunabula and went on to direct and perform in numerous productions. After obtaining degrees in philosophy, film and theatre from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Dar was invited to India to direct a play at Scindia School, Gwalior, and teach screenwriting and film appreciation at Whistling Woods International Institute in Mumbai. She has since been writing and directing TV shows, commercials, short films and music videos in India. Dar’s first feature was Teen Aur Aadha (2018). Expounding one of Namdev Bhau’s central themes, she says, “The importance of silence is grossly disregarded in city life. We’ve become immune to the ceaseless honking, eternal thumping from construction sites, endless rattling of trains … This is the predicament plaguing our protagonist.”