Arun Karthick

IFFR 2020

Tiger Competition

  • 78'
  • India
  • 2020

Nasir is a gentle man with a hard life. He has to scrimp to pay for his daily shopping, sometimes even missing meals. His adopted son Iqbal has the body of an adult, but the mind and vulnerability of a toddler. In spite of it all, Nasir remains optimistic. He writes love letters to his wife and declaims his poetry, which silences even the most idiotic loudmouth.

Nasir is also a Muslim in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where Hindu nationalism has taken on ever more virulent forms in recent decades. Propaganda constantly booms from loudspeakers everywhere in the public space. His boss at the textile store makes little effort to hide his contempt for Muslims. The customers treat Nasir as a doormat. In the meantime, Nasir starts worrying about his wife, who is out of town for a few days, and wonders whether he would be better off as a migrant labourer in Abu Dhabi.

Self-taught independent southern Indian filmmaker Arun Karthick started out directing short films on his Cinema Obscura platform, aged seventeen. His refreshing debut The Strange Case of Shiva (2015) premiered at IFFR, and he was seen as a major new voice in Tamil cinema. His second feature is a candid exposé of life as a second-class citizen. The toxic intolerance of Hindu extremists bubbles just below the surface of everyday life. Until the explosion; as sudden as it is inevitable.

Winner IFFR 2020 NETPAC Award

Arun Karthick
World premiere
Countries of production
India, Netherlands, Singapore
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2020
Mathivanan Rajendran, Reinier Selen, Ibo Karatay, Manoj Poosappan, Samir Sarkar, Anu Rangachar, Aditya Grover, Harsh Agarwal
Production Companies
Stray Factory, Rinkel Film, Harman Ventures, Magic Hour Films, Cent Percent Films, Uncombed Buddha
Stray Dogs
Arun Karthick, Dilip Kumar
Saumyananda Sahi
Arghya Basu
Production Design
Mausam Aggarwal
Sound Design
Gautam Nair
Koumarane Valavane, Sudha Ranganathan, Yasmin Rahman, Sabari, Bakkiyam Sankar, Rajesh, Jensan Diwakar
Local Distributor
Contact Film