Farida Saha and Sunit Kumar Saha
Rahul Banerjee first saw Subhadra Khaparde at the Narmada Bachao Andolan rally in 1991. It was love at first sight for the IIT (Kharagpur) graduate, who decided to work for the rights of the tribal community in Madhya Pradesh. After months of courting, Subhadra also fell in love with Rahul. Two years later, when the couple decided to get married, neither of their families approved of it because she is a Dalit neo-Buddhist activist and he is a Hindu Brahmin.
Subhadra and Rahul's story is one of six featured on Amazon Prime Video's Valentine's Day offering, love storian, Produced by Dharmatic Entertainment, the anthology is inspired by the India Love Project, a social media initiative by journalists Priya Ramani, Samar Halarnkar and Nilofar Venkatraman that celebrates love outside the constraints of religion, caste, ethnicity and gender.
Rahul Banerjee and Subhadra Khaparde
Somen Mishra, who heads the creative development of Dharmatic and conceptualized the show, briefly considered the idea. love storian It was a fantasy show but then decided against it. “There have already been many anthologies and I think it's more exciting to include real people who have fought against the odds,” he says. It was an inspired choice for Mishra, given that That's how impressive and heart-touching the final product has turned out.
Allowed to not add the glamor of fantasy storytelling love storian To stay true to your emotional core. However, it is not just the choice of narrative, it is also the choice of storytellers. The six directors – Akshay Indikar, Archana Phadke, Colin D'Cunha, Hardik Mehta, Shazia Iqbal and Vivek Soni – all bear some resemblance to their real-life heroes. “We wanted the stories to resonate with each of them,” says Mishra.
For example, Marathi filmmaker Akshay Indikar had an inter-caste marriage and is from the Dalit community. For them, Subhadra and Rahul's story is not just about finding each other, but it also highlights their passion towards a cause. He has dedicated his life to the upliftment of others. I wanted to document their struggles and strength,” says Indikar, whose last film was SthalapuranaA tender tale of an eight-year-old boy coping with change, it premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2020.
Having experienced the 'otherness' both in one's immediate and extended family when one marries outside one's religion, award-winning director Shazia Iqbal was immediately drawn to the Sahas, a couple from Kolkata in the 70s who met and Became each other. Love during the Bangladesh Liberation Movement in 1971. “They had to cross borders and leave their families behind to be together and yet they are not bitter. That’s what attracted me to him,” she says. “We traveled with them to Bangladesh, where they were returning after years to meet their families. Farida's brother Bachchu was still very angry with her. [for having married a Hindu] And didn’t want to meet him.” Obviously, there was a lot of apprehension about going to Bachchu's house, but once the brother and sister started talking, there was not a single glance in the room.
'Love is strength' was what Berlin Talent Campus alumnus and National Award winner Archana Phadke said after narrating the story of Dhanya Ravindran and Homayon Khoram. Dhanya is from Kerala, while Homayon is from Afghanistan, and they fell in love while studying in Moscow. “Most of the love stories that we see on screen end with marriage. “It takes a lot of work and flexibility to maintain a marriage, even within the same community,” says Phadke. Through their marriage that spanned two decades, the couple overcame many obstacles. This includes making a living in war-torn Afghanistan.
Dhanya Ravindran and Homayon Khoram
On the surface, the life of Ekta Kapoor and Nishan NP is a typical North Indian-meets-South Indian story. And, director Hardik Mehta knew a thing or two about marriage that crosses boundaries. “I too had a love marriage,” he says, “in which a group of Gujaratis traveled to Lucknow on the Sabarmati Express for two days.” What was different was that Mehta had his family's approval. “In India, marriage is not just about two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. “It’s about families coming together.” In terms of unity and mention, the opposites were his two daughters from his first marriage. “It was interesting how the couple won the hearts of young girls,” says Mehta.
Ekta Kapoor and Mention NP
From rival to lover
Nicholas J. Kharnami and Rajni K. Chhetri's description of the love story was emotional for Vivek Soni, who co-wrote and directed the Sanya Malhotra-starrer Meenakshi Sundareshwar (2021). Nicholas and Rajni are Shillong-based radio jockeys who first met each other over an on-air prank. “They worked at rival stations and an avid listener brought them together,” says Soni. Spending the day with the crew meant that when Rajini and Nicholas finally sat down in front of the camera, no matter the topic — commitment. -Fear, parental rejection, different religions, and even addiction – was not off the table. “They just opened. There was a lot that came up in our conversation that I had not even thought about,” says Soni.
Nicholas J. Kharnami and Rajni K. Chhetri
Kolkata residents Tista Das and Deepan first met in 2017 at a helpline for trans persons in Kolkata. Deepan had come from his home in Assam to seek help in gender reassignment surgery. Three years later, their union made history as the first rainbow wedding between two transgender persons in West Bengal. “Tista and Deepan's early life was spent discovering themselves and learning to love who they are. Finding someone who would love them was a very distant dream for both of them. His story is one that is very life-affirming and transformative,” says director Colin D'Cunha.
Tista Das and Deepan Chakraborty
The author of Film Journalist is Parveen Babi: A Life.