The one-rupee wonder: Aashmani Jawaharat aka Diamonds in the Sky


Kolkata & Bangalore, December 8 (Washington Bangla Radio, USA) - Every rupee counts in today’s life. All can contribute to something meaningful in their lives. Dream can be shared and realized. The story follows exactly the same way for Roy and Dey. Both of them knew that film making is a completely different proposition compares to showing it to the world. The Indies who challenged traditional and commercial modes of production find it all the more different and difficult from the rest. West Bengal-based filmmakers Anamitra Roy and Sriparna Dey have realized this harsh reality, yet they opt for enlisting their names in the ever increasing list of independent filmmakers. They set out for one rupee film project. 

Their effort has earned much fanfare and wide coverage in almost all major print media across India. Difficulties crept in as soon as the initial enthusiasm settled down. They are now finding it hard to complete the film. The docu-fiction, which has a runtime of two hours, is now put on hold due to shortage of fund in the post-production stage. They are in need of funds; need more partners, more helping hands, more co-producers, need more active participants in to turn this effort to a “crowd-funding’ one. 

Their story begun way back in February 2012 at Bring Your Own Film Festival (BYOFF) in Puri screening tent and the Aashmani Jawaharat PosterAvinash Warrior  organizer Gurpal Singh revealed the fundraising plan before the audience. Singh did it while introducing Roy before the screening of his short film, Memories… Of A Dead Township (2012).  Seconds after the announcement, help came walking in the name of Mr. S.N.Nanda as he handed over 100 rupee note to Roy with a comment, “Here is your first one rupee!” 


Since then, Roy and Dey never had to look back.  A milestone campaign in the field of independent filmmaking in India – a campaign that raised hundreds of eyebrows; that went viral almost as soon as it was launched in the web world; an appeal that even prompted Kolkata’s taxi drivers to donate Rs 10 or so and US-based film enthusiasts to donate in five digit figures. The promise was: even the person who donates Re 1 would get to watch the movie. People donating more will get other privileges. It took two years, 250 contributors and surmounting hard work to collect three lakh. The amount was barely enough to complete the shooting.

They shot it in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. They interviewed independent filmmakers, did vox pop of moviegoers from various echelons of the society and canned real-life experiences that they had to pass through while approaching people for help. In the true sense, the fiction part of the film is the more sublime documentary. Rich with a few engaging pieces of original music, this film travels smoothly between dreams and nightmares and harsh reality.

Independent actors and musicians worked for free, friends and family members lend their rooms and furniture for shooting. Roy edited it himself, while Dey engaged into set designing. The film is ready except the audiography part. It was also a part of the Viewing Room (Film Library) at Film Bazaar in International Film Festival of India, 2013. Once sounded absurd to many the Idea came to see the life due to the perseverance and zeal of the duo. 

”We  believed that a feature film can be made this way and we wanted to show it to the world,” Roy said, and added, “As we look at it, the visual part of the film is complete, but that’s only 25% of the whole work. We still have to cross several hurdles to get the film released in theatres.”

Shortbusters Film Festival authorities came to their rescue at this crucial juncture. The Bengaluru-based film festival organized a talk session on their project during their festival and has decided to support the promotion of the film. “Their (Roy and Dey's) story starts at a place most of us have been – too broke to fulfill our dreams. They decided to “crowdfund” their film and the project went viral – actually translating into real hard cash,” Vikram Mohindru, co-founder of Indian Independent Filmmakers Alliance (IIFMA), said. IIFMA is a partner in organizing the Shortbuster film festival that was organized in Bengaluru last November.

“There’s a benchmark that a film must reach whatever the value of the production may be. Otherwise it won’t suit people’s eyes and ears. We would love to challenge the norms people believe in when it comes to use of devices and patterns but the film must fulfill this very criterion itself.” Dey concluded.

Plan of making a movie by asking for Re 1 from everyone available, once termed as too much far-fetched is now a reality. Some more help can turn this to a film of the lifetime. Watch the Extended promo of the 0ne Rupee Film Project available on Youtube: