Art And Culture

Majid Majidi's India-Set Film Premiered at London Festival

Beyond the Clouds’ gives a voice to the voiceless, the people whose poverty denies them justice
Malavika Mohanan (L), Majid Majidi (C) and Ishaan Khattar on the red carpet of the 61st London Film Festival, October 13.Malavika Mohanan (L), Majid Majidi (C) and Ishaan Khattar on the red carpet of the 61st London Film Festival, October 13.

The first India-made film of renowned Iranian auteur Majid Majidi titled ‘Beyond the Clouds’ had its world premiere on October 13 at the 61st London Film Festival; the movie is to vie with 11 others in the official competition category.

Starring Ishaan Khattar (brother of Hindi star Shahid Kapoor) and Malavika Mohanan in the leading roles, and set in the slums of Mumbai, Majidi’s melodrama is the tale of a wild kid who deals drugs and crisscrosses with  his motorbike across the city to make the next drop. He reunites with his estranged sister, Taara, in time to become her lifeline after she is being jailed for attempted murder while defending herself from a sexual assault.

Talking about the world premiere of ‘Beyond The Cloud’ at the British festival, the event’s director, Clare Stewart said: “Acclaimed Iranian director Majid Majidi brings a powerful outsider eye to Mumbai in this compelling, visually stunning film driven by an extraordinary debut performance from Ishaan Khattar,” reported.

“Anil Mehta’s breathtaking cinematography and the evocative score by Oscar-winning composer A. R. Rahman bring additional depth to Majidi’s visionary filmmaking and we are very proud to present its world premiere in official competition at the festival.” Stewart added.

In an interview with Eastern Eye, UK weekly journal, Majidi said this is his first feature film made outside Iran. “It is an experience which I had longed for to happen for years. ’Beyond The Clouds’ is an extension of my cinematic beliefs, the roots of which lie in human values, love, friendship and family bonding,” he added.

In a review by Guy Lodge published in, the movie is described as a “socially conscious underworld melodrama that sees the veteran Iranian humanist taking to the slums of Mumbai with a hint of Bollywood swagger”.

“The role of children, as in much of the director’s work, is heavily emphasized here,” the review continued. The cross-cultural perspective and straight-ahead storytelling style of ‘Beyond the Clouds’ broaden its distribution prospects, Lodge wrote.

Majidi, 58, is a celebrated filmmaker and screenwriter, best known for his 1998 Oscar-nominated film ‘Children of Heaven’. His other works include ‘The Song of Sparrows’ (2008), ‘The Color of Paradise’ (1999) and ‘Baran’ (2001).

London Film Festival is an annual event held in collaboration with the British Film Institute. It screens more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts from approximately 50 countries.

Running through October 16, this year’s festival is showing 242 films with 29 world premieres, 8 international premieres and 34 European premieres.

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