Meet the youngest Indian director to crack Cannes 2016
The 22-year-old Indian-born director's 14 minute-long short film has been shot in the capital city, New Delhi. The story revolves around two ancestral art forms that survive in the modern world through their undying devotion to Hanuman- the Hindu deity who had a human body, but with the face and tail of an ape.
One of these communities is the "Madari," which was the ancient occupation of training monkeys to perform and entertain like humans. The other community is of the "Behrupiyas" or the 'masters of disguise'. These people were traditional impressionists who trained young children to behave like apes.
"Both of these communities of Madaris and Behrupiyas are similar to each other in terms of their poverty and the firm belief in the power of the Monkey God, Hanuman- a deity that symbolizes selfless devotion and strength," Varun explained.
'God On A Leash' will show a parallel contrast between the life of a Madari and a Behrupiya. On one hand, it shows the life of a captured monkey family, who travel around to places with their master. They are mistreated and painfully trained in the art of amusing humans. While on the other hand, a young boy from the Behrupiya community dresses up and acts like a monkey for public performances.
He further said, "Both groups convene to perform at the Hanuman temples. My documentary concentrates on the possibility of a role reversal between the animals as humans and vice versa. It makes the viewer wonder about who would triumph, or if either of them will triumph at all."
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