Indo-US female-centric short film wins at Brussels Film Festival
Everything is Fine, produced by Sasha John and directed by Mansi Jain, portrays the silent suffering of women in the face of every-day male prejudices and biased patriarchal norms
A compelling short film produced by UAE-based Sasha John and directed by Mansi Jain has won the Best Film in the Next Generation category at the Brussels Short Film Festival.
Everything is Fine, an Indo-US production, had earlier won critical acclaim at the Lincoln Centre in New York and at the 2017 Filmfare Awards. It will now be screened in-competition at the 2018 New York Indian Film Festival on May 10, 2018.
The female-centric drama portrays the silent suffering of women in the face of every-day male prejudices and biased patriarchal norms and has a primarily female cast and crew. The main lead is played by veteran Indian actor Seema Bhargava Pahwa (Ankhon Dekhi, Dum Lagake Haisha, Ferrari Ki Sawaari) and the National Award-winning Palomi Ghosh (Dance to the Rhythm, Mukti Bhavan/Hotel Salvation).
Academy Award and BAFTA winning sound designer Resul Pookutty (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and cinematographer Jigme Tenzing (Hema Hema, Honeygiver to the Dogs) are part of its technical crew.
The film portrays the side of Indian women rarely portrayed in art. Its subtle treatment of a relevant contemporary issue has earned positive reviews.
Everything is Fine follows Asha (Seema Bhargava Pahwa), a 58-year-old oppressed housewife from small-town India, who arrives in New Delhi to visit her independent-spirited daughter Natasha (Palomi Ghosh). When she tells Natasha about her desire to leave her marriage, she is met with shock and anger. When the shunned Asha tries to keep her happy facade through her oppressive circumstances, her daughter starts seeing her in a new light. Natasha slowly has a change of heart, but it might be too little too late for Asha, who might not need her daughter's empathy anymore.
Mansi Nirmal Jain, who co-wrote the film, was earlier an associate director on Moh Maya Money, a well-received noir film now available on Netflix. She says, “Everything is Fine is rooted in the Indian milieu but has universal resonance; it is about people who are hindered from standing up for themselves, for whatever reason – family obligations or social norms. We were fortunate to work with an exceptional cast and crew who are the film's real soul. This film is a tribute to every woman, and has a theme inspired by the true stories of many women – mothers, wives, daughters and grandmothers.”
Sasha John, who has previously worked on films such as Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox and Anurag Kashyap's Ugly, says Everything is Fine is a deeply personal film for her. “The film shines a light on the ever-pervasive issues of Indian middle class women being subjugated to subtle oppression in their own houses. The warm response it gained at the two screenings has been truly gratifying and we plan to develop it into a feature film to be made in New York and India.”
Sasha has earlier directed Jacob's Pond, which won a standing ovation at its world premiere at the 16th New York Indian Film Festival.
A Keralite from Kochi, who grew up in Dubai, Pune and Mumbai, she and Mansi met at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York, where both were pursuing MFA degrees. Both have a strong interest in telling female-centric stories.