Editor's note: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari's Oass, a movie on human trafficking, was named the best film at the second edition of the Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFF). It also won the best screenplay, and Divya Chhetri was awarded the best actress for the same movie. Here's an interview of Tiwari that Firstpost carried on 10 May, 2013 in which he talks about Oass and the actress of the film.
At times you find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. Filmmaker Abhinav Shiv Tiwari found his in a Delhi brothel. The result of it is his first film, a gut-wrenching feature film Oass - The Dew Drop that will premiere at Cannes Film Festival at Riviera 3 on 22 May, 2013.
The film narrates the turbulent journey of an innocent Nepali girl Kiku from her home in the foothills of Himalayas to a brothel to which she is sold off by her aunt. Despite the harsh realism portrayed vividly in the film, what Oass is really about is the undying hope and determination of the 15-year-old girl to escape this horrific reality that fate has thrust upon her.
"My film is more about the diagnosis of the problem, and the loopholes in the system that helps propel child trafficking," says Tiwari.
"Indian men are obsessed with girls' virginity and that is what fans child trafficking more than anything. The entire idea of deflowering a girl is very appealing to them."
However, while it does deal with this issue, Tiwari doesn't intend to provide a solution or lift the lid off any nexus. Told with emotional force and shot in an edgy experimental manner, his film is just about Kiku and her struggle to survive. Inspired by true events, it took Tiwari almost seven years to complete the film.
The idea of this story came to the director in 2006. At that time he was a 24-year-old filmmaker shooting a short feature film for United Nations. The short film was based on the rescue operations of girls trapped in Delhi brothels.
"During one such operation, I met this 15-year-old Nepali girl who was sold when she was 11," says Tiwari. " The strangest thing about that girl was that despite going through such horrors on a daily basis, she didn't nurse a grudge against anyone. Once she was free that is all what mattered most to her."
What moved Tiwari even more was the fact that after she was rescued, she came forward to help the UN and the police save other girls. She had since then been working with an NGO and is now rehabilitated, happily married and blessed with a child.
The courage and positivity of the girl inspired Tiwari and he decided to tell her story to the world. While it took him almost five years of research, working closely with various NGOs, spending time in city ghettos and red light areas, the film has finally been made and has already bagged an international award at Sunset International Film Festival.
During the making of the film, the toughest job for Tiwari was to find a girl who can play a character as bold as Kiku and would look the part as well. "Although the role is of a 15-year-old I didn't want to cast a minor girl for it," says the director. "Primarily because I didn't want to explain to a minor the kind of atrocities that a girl in such a situation might face. After several auditions all across India, we found Dibya Chetri. She was very confident. We organised a workshop for the entire cast and practiced rigorously before finally beginning the shoot."
The producer Debashish Bhattacharjee says that Oass will have a nationwide release very soon as he wants everyone to know the story of the brave heart.
Watch the trailer of the film here: