The film offers a perspective on the traditional ceremony that marks the festival of Bakra Eid every year.
Elham is a 90-minutes feature film, jointly produced by Mumbai based production house. The film, written and directed by Dhruva Harsh, premiered at the 21st Dhaka International Film Festival in Bangladesh last week as India’s official entry. Set against the festival of Eid-ul-Adha, popularly known as Bakra Eid, it revolves around a young boy and his bonding with a goat.
“Even though we are the largest film producing nation, India hardly makes any children’s films today. At the Dhaka festival, among the 260 entries from 70 countries, only 18 films were children’s films, among them “Elham” was the official entry from India and the only children’s film among the three entries. That itself is a matter of pride and gives one a sense of achievement,” says CEO of the company which has produced the film, Utpaal Acharya.
Dhruva Harsh whose other shorts and documentaries, including “Honourable Mention” (2015), “Harshit” (2018), “Do I Exist: A Riddle” (2019) and “The Last Sketch” (2022), have been screened in various film festivals across the country and the world. They are now streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.
The Last Sketch, Dhruva’s last documentary, was on Kolkata’s rickshaw pullers around whom Bimal Roy had woven a heart-wrenching story, Do Bigha Zameen (1953). “Elham” offers an insight into the annual Muslim festival celebrated across South Asia and its traditional sacrifice of a goat.
“Elham is set in Uttar Pradesh, around a family of five that is unable to buy the ceremonial goat for Bakra Eid. As a result, the children have to face a lot of taunts and jibes from their friends in school. In these circumstances, a sufi mystic, and Faizan’s friendship with a sacrificial goat, helps fortify the children’s faith thereby justifying the film’s title, and the film beautifully captured by Cinematographer Ankur Rai” says Dhruva.
The film Elham is produced by Raj Kishor Khaware, Utpaal Acharya, Saurabh Varma, Vickey Prasad, Vikas Yadav and Rati Tandon and Vickey has also given the music. Debutants, Taiyo Chan and Tot Chan, head the cast as the young siblings, with Mahmood Hashmi and Gunnit Kour playing the parents and Umesh Shukla as the grandparent.