Mumbai: Hellaro became the first Gujarati movie to be an official Indian entry to the Cannes Film Festival this year. A formal announcement was made by the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on June 23. Made by debutant director Abhishek Shah, it was also the opening film at the India International Film Festival last year.
Hellaro is a period film based in 1975, based on true events about how suppressed women of Kutch use music and dance as a recourse to revolt against male feudalism in society. Based on traditional folk dance of Garba, the film traces the women’s journey to rhythm from claps and dhol beats and how it ends up as their daily outlet against social suppression.
Hellaro, which also bagged the national award for the best feature film category in 2019, had its theatrical release in November 2019. It was also a commercial success and netted over Rs 20 crores across India. It has also had openings abroad in cities of Dubai and Canada. For the choreographers, Samir and Arsh Tanna, this was their third tryst with the national award.
The Tanna’s have earlier been part of national award winning movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Goliyon Ki RasLeela: Ram Leela. While Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam got them the national award for choreography in 1999, Ram Leela fetched them the Filmfare award for best choreography in 2014. “This is a path breaking moment in Gujarati cinema, which is far less vibrant than its dramas.
However, things are changing and now Gujarati movies get screened even in cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. In fact, Hellaro could have run way beyond the 160 days that it ran in Mumbai theatres, but for the disruption brought in by the Covid-19 lockdown,” Samir Tanna told thenews21. The Mumbai-based Tanna’s also have a cultural troupe Kala Nirjari.