Rohena Gera’s ‘Sir’ seems to be on an award winning spree. This time the film has won at the 19th Annual New York Indian Film Festival held recently. The film has bagged the award for the Best Film while lead actress Tillotama Shome has got the Best Actress award at the festival.
An elated Rohena says, “I am just so delighted! The audience response was fantastic and that means the world. Winning an award in New York feels really special because I had my first film job in Manhattan at Paramount Pictures and then on the sets of Tony Gerber’s 5-borough film side streets. So coming back with a film feels like a full circle.”
She adds, “Best Film is a very gratifying award because it acknowledges the contribution of the producers, in this case Brice Poisson and Thierry Lenouvel (as well as the funders), who stood by my vision even though it didn’t make “commercial sense”. I am particularly pleased about Tillotama’s award because her portrayal of Ratna brought out the complexities of the situation and script, bringing alive an optimistic and intelligent character who has had a difficult life but rises above her circumstances. I would like to acknowledge Pushpendra Singh whose workshops really helped us to prepare for the shoot.”
The other nominees in the Best Film segment included ‘Kattumuram’, ‘Paani’, ‘Sa’ and ‘Shivaranjani’ and ‘Two Other Women’, while those for the Best Actress were Aparna Sen for ‘The Bose Family’, Neena Gupta for ‘The Last Color’, Rasika Dugal for ‘Hamid’ and Seema Biswas for ‘Abode’.
Tillotama is also on cloud nine and feels honoured to have got the award. “It was so moving to hear how lovingly Mira Nair opened the festival and spoke about us, in a city that I have lived and loved. To be nominated along with greats like Aparna Sen, Seema biswas, Neena Gupta and Rasika Dugal is an insane memory to have for life. For us to win Best Film and Best Actress is completely the cherry atop a very groovy cake. I am very grateful to the jury and the festival. Thank you Rohena for giving me Ratna,” she says.
The Vivek Gomber-Tillotama Shome starrer has had theatrical releases in more than 20 countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Netherlands and Belgium. It has also had successful screening at the prestigious Cannes Film festival, a Gala premiere at Zurich Film Festival and screenings across the world from the Czech Republic to Melbourne, California and Israel, as well as other festivals in Europe. In fact, the film has also won audience awards at the Festival du Film de Cabourg/France and Festival World Cinema Amsterdam/Netherlands. Rohena is also the first female filmmaker to have bagged the Gan Foundation Award at Cannes for the film.
The story of the film revolves around an unlikely attraction between a man and his maid servant. It has been produced by Brice Poisson and Gera.