Deepa Bhatia is one of the most respected film editors of mainstream Hindi cinema. In the past 12 years, she has edited some very important films like Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa, Deham, Dev, Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Mara, My Name is Khan and Taare Zameen Par. She has also won the Best Editing Award (Screen) for ‘Rock On!!’
‘Nero’s Guests’, her first independent documentary, is the story of India’s agrarian crisis resulting in over 2,00,000 farmers taking their own lives. The film inspects the spectre of this colossal tragedy compounded by inequality reflected by the Rural Affairs Editor of ‘The Hindu’ newspaper, P. Sainath. Sainath is the 2007 winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications Arts and the source of inspiration for Deepa to make this film.
Deepa grew up in a family in Mumbai that was not interested in mainstream cinema and hence, had minimum exposure to it. The first film that left an indelible mark on her was Ketan Mehta’s ‘Mirch Masala’, which made her realize that cinema could have a purpose other than simple entertainment. Her first tryst with world cinema took place during her Social Communication and Media course when she watched Istvan Szabo’s ‘Te’ (You).
The Three Colours trilogy – Blue, White and Red, Vera Chitilova’s ‘Traps’, ‘Il Postino’, ‘8 ½’, ‘Rules of the Game’, ‘The Colour of Paradise’, ‘Blueberry Nights’ to name a few path-breakers that have deeply impacted her.
Choosing to make a documentary for a directorial debut in a country obsessed with Bollywood (as the mainstream Hindi film industry is called), is a decision not many filmmakers would make, but Deepa was sure about her choice of genre and subject. Major portions of the documentary, a result of repeated visits over five years, have been shot in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region. The film sensitively captures the plight of the poverty-stricken farmers and highlights their strength in the face of terrible suffering. As she says, “A film should have a soul”. This one surely does.
To know more about Deepa Bhatia, visit: www.nerosguests.com
I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Sophy on many projects over the years. She is honest, upfront and great to work with. - Deepa Bhatia
List of Films
If you wish to buy DVDs of documentaries for Institutions, please note the price is R.700 per DVD.