Mumbai: Paakhi A Tyrewala’s directorial debut film, ‘Pahuna-The Little Visitors’ will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 7. ‘Pahuna-The Little Visitors’ is a Sikkimese film which tells the courageous story about three Nepali children who get separated from their parents, escape the Maoists’ agitation in Nepal and flee to Sikkim. One of the first films of its kind in Sikkimese language and also the first Indian Sikkimese film to be selected at the TIFF, the film follows the lives of three ordinary children under extraordinary circumstances.
Talking about the film, director Paakhi A Tyrewala says, “The film has a very fable-like quality to it. Everyone else in the name of independent cinema or alternate cinema today make very depressing films. When I thought of making this film, I really wanted to make something different which is commercial but still entertaining and has a big heart. And that’s what ‘Pahuna’ is. It has a really large heart; a story about survival, courage & innocence of children with a happy ending.”
Director Paakhi A Tyrewala as a filmmaker believes in producing stories that bind people together. She feels that as a storyteller, one can get more people to get a biased story. The idea of this film’s story came to director Paakhi about thirteen years ago. “I wanted to make my first film in Sikkimese language from the past 13 years as I had promised myself while living in the Northeast, that I would make a film for Sikkim. Back then, they did not have a film industry. And I always felt that north east is very alienated. The people there do read a lot of books and watch our shows. I felt it was the time we told their stories through their people. In Sikkim, there are no actors. We could have easily taken actors from Nepal since they have a thriving film industry but we decided to take local people and train them including the main cast of the film who underwent extensive workshops with my mum, Veena Mehta, a National School of Drama graduate,” says Paakhi.
When asked about her husband Abbas Tyrewala’s role in giving her inputs who is a also a writer & director, she says, “Abbas is involved at each step. Before showing the producers, he is the first person I approach when it comes to showing the script or even the edit. I have been his first assistant on films and learnt writing from him much before we could fall in love and get married. Besides being my soul mate & best friend, he is my teacher as well as my mentor.”
Produced by Priyanka Chopra and Dr. Madhu Chopra’s Purple Pebble Pictures and CFSI, ‘Pahuna – The Little Visitors’ is written and directed by Paakhi A Tyrewala.