Mumbai Love Story
Set in the aftermath of the 2008 attacks, this fictional narrative film, MUMBAI LOVE STORY (working title) tells the story of KHALIL, a tough, ambitious Muslim street orphan on the verge of adolescence, who lives and works in the sprawling outskirts of modern-day Mumbai. In this chaotic adult world, young Khalil struggles to make a better life for himself and his younger brother, SAMIR. One morning when bicycling to their jobs in the factory, they take a short-cut through a Hindu neighborhood an
"If we are to teach real peace in this world,
and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with
the children." --Mohandas Gandhi
The film's objective is to tell a story that will act as a catalyst to
entertain, inform and add to the larger dialogue
surrounding Muslim-Hindu, Muslim-US and Islamic-global tensions, and to
translate historical conflict into humanist love story accessible to a broad
and diverse audience.
Although there are many films addressing the Muslim-Hindu
conflict, they are usually restricted to adult points of view. MUMBAI LOVE STORY
activates a child's perspective to make the story unique, relatable
and accessible to the under 25 market. We are positioning the film to serve the
U.S. as a primary target, though the youth market of
India, representing over 50% of India's 1.21 billion population seems an
obvious home for the film. We welcome the opportunity to introduce the project to a possible funding or production partner as well as individuals relating to the Islamophobia and inter-faith conflicts.
behind the story include reports such as a Columbia University survey, which found that seven percent of
public school-going Muslim children are physically
beaten up. The survey also found that 28 percent had been
stopped by police. This attitude towards the faith of 1.5 billion people
worldwide is destructive in any culture.
Producer, Isabel Sadurni from New York, in the U.S.A and Producer, Hari Mina Bala form Mumbai, are proud to actively collaborate in telling a story that
Muslim-Hindu hostilities with an authentic evocation of childhood where the young protagonists come
to represent agents of
peace and tolerance.
LOVE STORY has received the support of a New
York Foundation for the Arts Opportunity Grant as well as letters of interest
for screening and distribution from The
Asia Society, New York and U.C. Berkeley's Center of South Asia Studies
Educational Outreach Program. Producer,
(Vanity Fair, The Namesake)
and Director of Salaam Baalak
Trust and screenwriter Sooni
(The Namesake, Salaam Bombay!)
have agreed to serve as consultants to the project (read our wonderful letters of
support at www.isabelsadurni.com). Judy
E. Menon, Assistant Director of the Consulate General of India and
Cynthia F. Johnson, Cultural Liaison for the U.S. Department of State
have shown interest in inviting the film to serve as a vehicle for
dialogue within diplomatic circles.
Funding will provide crucial travel, research and development funding to develop the script in collaboration with local Mumbai children of Salaam Baalak Trust. While in Mumbai, we will also speak with local South Asian industry representatives,
crucial to advancing the film through final phases of script development and
into production. We will take every advantage to
build bridges with local community leaders, companies, incentives
programs, crew, equipment facility houses to enable a fully financed
production that represents a collaboration between US and South Asia in every sense.
We believe the emotionally engaging characters and visual storytelling with an underlying
message of love overcoming religious intolerance in MUMBAI LOVE STORY
a need for an entertaining vehicle for dialogue confronting the destructive
forces of the Muslim-Hindu conflict and Islamophobia.
The film, told through the eyes of a child suggests both a perspective
free from prejudice and a resilience that we believe will inspire both
children and adults alike.
Phase I :Research, script development in
collaboration with children of South Mumbai.
An invitation from Dinaz Stafford, Co-Founding
Trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, filmmaker, psychologist and long-time collaborator of Mira Nair
supports my creation of this project throughout.
(see letter of collaboration in Gallery).
developing the screenplay, I will lead a month-long filmmaking workshop at SBT. The
workshop, called YOU AND ME will
draw from the Mumbai street children’s real life-experiences and serve a
platform for (re)imagining relationships between the children and their peers,
neighbors and environment. Micro-films (30 secs or less) by participants will
be screened as a community celebration and will be available on-line.The children will serve as models for the screenplay’s characters.
ability to embed myself with the children at SBT, to
listen to their personal stories, dreams, fears and fantasies will allow
me to better empathize with their perspectives, to
better understand local issues and to represent the children’s lives with
authenticity and compassion. It will ensure that the characters in MUMBAI LOVE STORY are not caricatures or stereotypes of Muslims or Hindus and will allow for
complexities to reveal themselves, complexities that Westerners can relate to.
In keeping with SBT’s mission of developing a holistic
environment in which the children can empower themselves and integrate into
society as productive citizens, the children in the workshop will learn
technical skills in filmmaking and photography as well as gain confidence and
positive identity formation through the filmmaking as an artistic vehicle for