Indian animator awarded in 16th Resistance Int. Film Fest.

TEHRAN, Sep. 28 (MNA) – "The Saviour" by Arjun Mukherjee from India managed to snatch the Iran’s 16th Resistance International Film Festival's "Health Defenders" Section’s trophy and diploma of honour.

Mukherjee is 46 years old, an executive creative director in the fields of advertising who has worked in several advertising agencies in India for the last 20 years.
So far he has won numerous prizes in several festivals in Adfest, Asia Pacific Advertising Awards, Goafest, Kyoorius, the Olive Crown Awards, etc.
Arjun is a curator of experiences and sincerely believes in re-telling beautiful anecdotes that emanate from life. He loves everything about animation films and animals, two things that keep him going and reflect in his work.
In an interview with the festival, he described his reasons for producing this animation.
The excerpt of the interview follows:

Please tell us about your film. How and why you made it?

India has been one of the countries around the world that is most affected by Coronavirus. The health workers sacrificed their lives to save each and every person they could. However very little was spoken about the sanitation workers who also risked their life everyday to make sure that the cities remained clean and garbage didn’t pile up. Our film was based on a true story that happened in Nabha in Punjab, India. A small town where one fine morning the residents came out to shower their regular garbage disposal man with flowers. Motivated by the story we wanted to showcase to the world the massive job that the sanitation workers were doing as well and the least we could do is show our gratitude to them through this film.

Which fact was the primary motivation for you to make a film related to the Coronavirus pandemic and doctors' and nurses' efforts as pioneers in defending people's health?

Firstly a huge, huge salute to all the doctors and nurses who gave their all, including their lives to save each and every one they could. Our primary motivation was to inspire people to show their heartfelt gratitude to all health and sanitation workers in every way possible. In any way possible. These people are the real rock stars and no way can we forget their sacrifices when all this over. Something done for the digital platform has a perpetual life and I hope our film

serves as a testimony for years to come about the superlative efforts of our health and sanitation workers.

What is the most noticeable or memorable thing regarding the process of making this film during a pandemic?

Firstly a regular shoot was not possible because of an imposed lockdown. Secondly we had to do everything from home, including music, animation, etc. Doing a film over video calls was an interesting challenge and considering we didn’t have much time it was tough too. The most memorable thing was when we were sharing the first cut animation with friends asking for their opinion, even without music and grading, the reactions we got was overwhelming and people just loved the thought of the story. In fact as the film starting getting shared online lots of neighborhoods in fact went ahead and felicitated their own health and sanitation workers.

What subject would you choose if you want to make another film about the pandemic after controlling this virus's spread?

Health care workers including doctors and nurses and test centre workers are facing a social backlash in some places because of them being directly involved in fighting the virus. People have this false belief that these brave workers are responsible for spreading the pandemic as well and hence they are still being hounded out of housing, neighborhood and societies they live in. I want do another film with the animation artist Sourish Mitra on this subject and how healthcare workers overcame this dilemma and went about their respective jobs in spite of the huge challenges they were facing.  

Let us be a little reminiscent as the last question; if you had a choice to choose only one person to watch your film in the cinema, who will be your choice? And who do you want to give your film as a gift?

I would choose ‘Sanatan Das’ my daily garbage collector and sanitation worker to watch this film in the cinema. Just to let him know that he is a real inspiration in these hard times and his sacrifices will always be remembered.
I would like to give the film as a gift to my daughters. Let this film be a humble reminder to them about who the stars in our society really are. And also to teach them when they grow up as to what real commitment to any job is all about and how any ordinary individual can turn into a real hero when times are tough.


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