Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak- A fable of dreams

A poster from the film Dhanak-webAs he walked through the sands, feeling the hot wind against his face, the vast expanse instilling fear, his feet sinking deep into the sand with each step he took, in the distant horizon there appeared a bright figure extending his hand with a magic wand. Colors from the wand streamed through the sunlight, urging him to make one wish. The picture in his mind could be real, he would see instead of envisioning, know the color black from darkness and dreams would be his aspirations of a future. Just when he tried to reach for the hand, the alarm went off.

Many such dreams have been part of his nights; every morning bringing the hope that there will be a day when he will be able to see. This not just a film, but also a beautiful fable, symbolizing a miracle waiting to happen for the millions who are visually challenged.

Indian celluloid has penned many stories, that have helped us re-live a brother-sister bond, but this one will strike a chord like never before. Dhanak, also meaning rainbow, is an exceptional portrayal of courage, exemplary determination, and an adventurous journey two siblings undertake so that the little boy can see again. This magical fable set in rural Rajasthan, takes us on a journey with its young protagonists, Pari and her vision impaired younger brother Chotu.

In her childhood innocence and unaware of the consequences, Pari promises to get back Chotu’s vision before his ninth birthday. Little does she know of the mammoth task that lay ahead of her. On one of their weekly trips to see a movie, she sees a poster of a film star asking people to donate their eyes.

To succeed in her quest, she writes several letters to the film star hoping to get her brother’s eyesight back through his intervention. Her faith isn’t deterred when she doesn’t hear from the film star.

Fate intervenes and news spreads that the film star is shooting in a distant village. Confident that she will be able to fulfill this wish, if allowed to meet the film star in person, they embark on their amazing adventure. Nagesh Kukunoor’s film, Dhanak is about their journey, their struggles during it, and the essence of the strong relationship between Pari and Chotu.

Will Chotu be able to see again? Will they succeed in this beautiful journey? Travel with Pari and Chotu and see them light up the screen.
Nagesh Kukunoor, the maker of this film is known to bring rainbows to the screen, and his latest creation is no exception. His stories are enchanting by themselves. He has given us exceptional films in the past, and Dhanak has already won two awards at the Berlin Film Festival, 2015.

The 13th Annual Indian Film Festival, Los Angeles (IFFLA) will be screening the film on April 12th, their closing night at the Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood. IFFLA showcases a combination of features, short films, and documentaries, created by both emerging filmmakers and seasoned auteurs. At this festival, you will also learn of an organization that has played the role of “Pari” to millions of visually challenged people.

Sankara Eye Foundation, a presenting organization at IFFLA’s closing night, is headquartered in the Silicon Valley, USA. It is the charitable wing of Sankara Eye Foundation, India and has been instrumental in helping them succeed in their mission to eradicate curable blindness.

With more than a million free eye surgeries to their credit, their goal of Vision 20/20 by 2020 is proof of what desire, determination ,and courage can achieve. It is a rare chance for the audience to witness an unusual engagement of the finest in cinema and the charitable world.

Sneha Mahecha

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