Film festival diary

Majid Majidi on making ‘Beyond the Clouds’ in India and returning for another movie

The Iranian director’s latest film is set in a Mumbai slum and stars Ishaan Khatter and Malavika Mohanan.

Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds will be released in India only in February 2018, but already, the acclaimed Iranian director is planning another movie in the country he says he loves and admires.

“India is a land of stories, how can you not translate it into films?” Majidi said at a press conference at the International Film Festival of India in Panaji on Tuesday. Beyond the Clouds was the opening film at the festival, which runs until November 28. Festival delegates queued up for hours to watch the multi-lingual production, which is being shown in India for the first time after screenings at the London Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.

Beyond the Clouds features Ishaan Khatter and Malavika Mohanan as siblings in a Mumbai slum whose bond is tested when Tara (Mohanan) is arrested for attempted murder. Shot by Anil Mehta and scored by AR Rahman, Beyond the Clouds has been co-produced by Namah Pictures and Zee Studios and will be released in India in February.

It was important for Majidi to recruit an Indian cinematographer for the movie, since he felt that locals would have a better understanding of the locations and situations explored by the movie. “As you must have seen in my films, even my locations have character, and I work on them,” Majidi said. “Even for the lighting of the film, I wanted to give a real feeling.”

There is ample talent in India, which hosts filmmaking industries in several languages, but young and upcoming directors face challenges in their dealings with commerce-minded producers, Majidi observed. “There is a shadow of the industry on young filmmakers, and they may find it difficult to make films,” he said. “We should create space for brilliant young talent, otherwise it will be a dead end.”

Deepika Padukone was initially considered for the role played by Malavika Mohanan, but Majidi foresaw problems in casting a star of Padukone’s wattage.

“I usually choose heroes from among people,” he said. “This doesn’t mean that I am not interested in professional actors. Since I was shooting in Mumbai, it became difficult to organise the sets. When we were auditioning Deepika Padukone, we had a tough time managing the crowds.”

Mohanan, who plays Tara, has previously acted in Malayalam films. “For me, it is brilliant how he [Majidi] makes you perform,” she said. “My role was emotionally very taxing, and it was not easy to get into that headspace. There were days when I didn’t know that I had it in me. For me, that is the magic he does with actors.”

For Ishaan Khatter, agreeing to make his debut in a Majid Majidi movie was a no-brainer. “You seldom have the chance to work with such a filmmaker,” he said. “I am a huge admirer of his work.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.