With unique stories hidden in every nook and corner of our diverse nation, famed Indian filmmaker Bharatbala & his team at Virtual Bharat have conjured up a diamond in the rough that is ‘Pehlwan’. This short film that premiered on Youtube has already struck an emotional chord with its viewers through its mesmerizing storytelling, picturesque cinematography and goosebump-inducing music by Dopeadelicz.
The original song created for the movie has been envisioned and strung together by the famed musical rap group from the streets of Dharavi ‘Dopeadelicz’, who was also featured in the film ‘Gully Boy’. The high powered and quick-paced beats are an apt representation of the essence of living in Mumbai.
Talking about the film, Bharatbala said, “Pehlwan’ brings to the screen a beautiful story of real-life fighters and protectors in Mumbai. The storyline gives a glimpse of how they view our world. The soul and quintessence of Mumbai and its people have always been a story of motivation for people living in the rest of the country. While this spirit of the city has been aesthetically captured in various popular mainstream movies, through this film, I wish to shine a light on stories that don’t often make it into the mainstream but still deserve a platform on its own. At times heartbreaking and at times uplifting, the film will leave an indelible mark on the viewers.”
‘Pehlwan: The Migrant Warrior’ is a dedication to the spirit of Mumbai. The city of dreams. The city of warriors. The city of migrants. The city that calls out to every migrant with a dream – “tu aaja, tu aaja, tu aaja pehlwan…rukna mat, rukna mat, rukna mat, pehlwan.” In this bustling city of 22 million, the story focuses on the pehlwans of Mahatma Phule Akhada, buried in the heart of Chinchpokli.
What sets these migrants apart is that they not only take on the dream and struggles of Mumbai, but dedicate themselves to training in, and keeping alive, the ancient Indian art form – Pehlwani. An intensive sport, born in South India and honed in the Mughal courts, involving over 8 hours of practice a day, and a challenging daily regime.
A person who breathes life into his visuals through real people and places, filmmaker Bharatbala tells Indian stories with a universal sensibility in the most exotic locations across the subcontinent. He is renowned for his grand visions for India, his most popular being Vande Mataram Ma Tujhe Salaam that took audiences by storm and 23 years later is still sung across stadiums and clubs when the youth want to feel a big India emotion.
Virtual Bharat, a 1000 film journey of India that aims to uncover untold human stories of India through these spectacular short films, premiered ‘Pehlwan’ on their channel on YouTube on September 21, 2020. The gripping narration uncovers the true meaning of being a ‘Pehlwan,’ a warrior and a true role model to the Indian male, and with it brings forth the fighting spirit of the city of Mumbai.