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Helmer dedicates Best Film 'Hellaro' to suppressed women

Saturday - August 17, 2019 2:32 pm , Category : ENTERTAINMENT
Mumbai, Aug 17 (IANS) Not many knew the name Abhishek Shah outside the Gujarati film industry till the day before the National Film Awards were announced last week. Shah, who was better known as a casting director even within Gujarati industry, is now a celebrated name in film circles, after his debut directorial feature, "Hellaro", won Best Feature Film at the 66th National Film Awards.

"I am still wondering about what happened. The feeling is yet to sink in. This is an honour that legendary filmmakers as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Shyam Benegal have received in the past," an excited Shah told IANS.
He would rather look at the big picture when it comes to gauging success. "For me, the biggest achievement is that before this, no Gujarati film has ever won the National Award in the Best Feature Film category since 1932, when the first Gujarati film was made. It is a great achievement for Gujarati cinema."
"Hellaro", set in the Kutch region of Gujarat in the seventies, is about a group of women staying in a village within the desert, which is disconnected from every other place. "The women of this village are suppressed to the extent that they can't even think of expressing themselves. Then, one day, a person arrives in the village and their life changes for the better. They learn to fight suppression and start expressing themselves," avers Shah.
"I would like to dedicate this National Award to women across the world, who are facing suppression and fighting it," the filmmaker said, adding that film's title "is a Gujarati word that refers to a tide which comes with a force, and sweeps and changes everything in its wake".
"The film is about positivity, it is not a dark film, it is not arthouse cinema, it is not a film where only suppression is shown. This film talks about expression and folk dance. Gujarat's folk dance, the Garba, plays a pivotal role and the 13 actresses are the heroes of this film," said Shah.
The debutant director revealed that after the success of "Hellaro" he feels encouraged to make more films. "I have been doing theatre for 19 years and have directed lots of plays. I am a theatreperson and it is my life. I have not studied in any film school, and neither have I worked as an assistant director in any film," he said.
"Hellaro," co-written and directed by Abhishek Shah, is set to hit the theatres around Diwali.

--IANS abh/vnc