Amit Kumar’s The Bypass (2003), starring Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is due to be screened at the Bandra Film Festival under the theme Hidden Gems on 30 August. The silent short film, written and directed by Kumar, was filmed on a stranded road in Rajasthan.
Earlier screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Aubagne Film Festival, The Bypass is about two friends, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sundar Dan, who frequently rob and ultimately murder the people who travel by the nearby road. The late Irrfan Khan played the role of a corrupt police officer.
In a statement, Kumar shared, “In my first film, The Bypass, I had the honor of bringing two consummate actors together - the late Irrfan and Nawaz. It was one of those times when everything came together perfectly: the fabulous cast, the wonderful crew, and the evocative locations. My film is also a tribute to the silent era, where acting chops, a strong script, and visual storytelling were the most important filmmaking tools.”
He added, “Not only did this allow me to work with my uncle and early inspiration, Surya Mohan Kulshreshtha, aka Baba, it was also an exciting early step in my creative collaboration with my friend from our film school times- the Oscar winner Asif Kapadia. Who knew we’d still be happily collaborating nearly 20 years later! With so many happy memories attached, it’s great to see the film get another run after so many years. Bandra Film Festival is doing a fabulous job of showcasing interesting films which may not have had exposure in the mainstream.”
British filmmaker Kapadia, who is also a producer of the film, said, “The Bypass was a key moment in my journey as a filmmaker; it was a long time ago, but it still feels so vivid, the crazy experience far off the beaten track in the burning hot desert. Was it a dream? Or a nightmare? For a film to bring together the late great, dearly loved and missed Irrfan, and the fantastic Nawaz at the start of his incredible career.”
He continued, “My good friend Amit (Bhai) Kumar wrote and directing, what I think is his best film because it was made with no compromises. It was a family affair with Rajeev Ravi as cinematographer, Oscar winner Dario Marianelli as a composer, and BAFTA [British Academy of Film and Television Arts] winner Andy Shelley editing and creating the sound design. What a cast and crew!"
“I feel the only true way to judge any film is to see if it stands the test of time, and The Bypass does, with flying colors. It is still as brilliant, tough, shocking, and raw as the day it was completed. It’s pure cinema, perfect, and like all great cinema, it deserves to be seen by audiences far and wide,” Kapadia said.
For the second year in a row, the Bandra Film festival is being offered entirely online. It has been showcasing an array of features and unique films in three categories of Hidden Gems, Off The Beaten Path, and New Discoveries on its YouTube channel, continuing to champion the cause of independent films and filmmakers.
The festival, which began in February 2021, has actor Abhay Deol and writer and festival director of New York Indian Film Festival, Aseem Chhabra, on its advisory board.
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