07 May, 2021

‘A Mob Destroyed My Coffee Shop And Opened The Door To A Film’

In conversation with Arun Karthick, whose movie ‘Nasir’ won the NETPAC award at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR) 2020

‘A Mob Destroyed My Coffee Shop And Opened The Door To A Film’

Nasir’s eponymous protagonist writes poetry and endearing love letters to his wife. He is a Muslim salesman trying to negotiate his straitened circumstances as sectarianism simmers in Coimbatore. Its 27-year-old director, Arun Karthick, stayed in a Muslim neighbourhood for three years to get the right texture and flavour for the film. Nasir’s world premiere is at IFFR 2020, where it has won the NETPAC award (best Asian feature film). At his hotel close to de Doelen, the main festival venue, Arun talks about the making of the movie, its unique stylistic devices and how he taught himself filmmaking.

Your encounter with a violent mob planted the idea for Nasir. Could you talk about what happened?

In 2016, I opened a coffee shop in a market in Coimbatore. A mob of 700-800 people went on a rampage. They pelted stones at shops along a 2-3-km stretch of the street and broke windows and glass doors. My coffee kiosk also happened to be on that road. It was crazy! That’s when I realised the nature...

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