As the Dharamsala International Film Festival (DIFF) continues to screen avant-garde cinema for the connoisseurs and critics, "Nirnay", Pushpa Rawat's directorial debut, comes across as a film that celebrates women's vivacity and spirit.
The 27-year-old debutante is originally from Almora in Uttarakhand and currently lives in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. She was inspired towards filmmaking when she attended a workshop by Anupama Srinivasan in National Bal Bhawan.
Rawat has previously worked on the documentary "Kyon" (2007).
On her inspiration to make "Nirnay", she said: "'Am I wrong, or is it something amiss with the world?' The idea for the film has emerged from this feeling of discontent that in turn has led to a need to question and understand.
"The aim is not to present these women as weak. It is to share with the viewer, their spirit as much a their confusions, in other words, to portray vignettes of their existance and through that, question the norms of the society we live in."
Set in a lower-middle class neighbourbood, the 56-minute documentary explores the lives of a group of young female friends in a corner of Ghaziabad, who are expected to learn to peel onions, come home before dark and wed a husband of their parents's choice.
Educated and in their early 20s, the women feel stymied and helpless when it comes to making major life decisions -- be it about their careers or their marriage. Lata wants to be a singer. Mithlesh is just drifting along is life. Pooja doubts she's ever had any real freedom.
In spite of the fact that their dreams bite the dust, the film commends the ladies's effervescence and soul.
The filmmaker shot the documentary over three years in her own neighbourhood and at its heart lies her own affair with her beau, their families's negotiations and Rawat's courageous documentation of their break-up.
The film, which was also showcased at the Mumbai Film Festival recently this year, got a positive response from the audience on the second day of DIFF. Rawat was overwhelmed by the applause that followed the screening of the documentary.