Sometimes the entire life is not enough to know your calling or purpose, but director Rajat Bhardwaj has found it in his profession. A practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism, he says, “I wish to show the humanism I carry in my heart through filmmaking because I believe the audio and visual medium is the most effective way to make an impact on society.”
Rajat calls his recently released feature film, Meher, available on MX Player, his soul project. Shot entirely in Chandigarh, with a crew of 35, in July, Rajat had the script in mind since the start of his career as a director. In the span of five years of working in Mumbai, he says, “I have worked in documentaries for WWF and UK government, have done three films with OTT platforms but nothing beats the feeling of phone calls that I received from elderly people who have thanked me for making this feature film. I believe the actors associated with me have done a great job in translating those emotions of loneliness from the script to the screen.”
Talking about the location of the sets, he says, “I got to explore Chandigarh the way we used to do during college days. Coronavirus has given us a forced break and I got to spend a long time here almost after four years. One of my favourite places in Chandigarh is Siswan Dam and Siswan gurdwara; the opening few shots of boys in the film were shot there only.”
While it was one of Rajat’s many dream projects, he is thankful to all those who believed in his vision. “I have spent my entire savings to make this project a reality. My father was skeptical about this step of mine, but when he saw the final shots, he too was happy. I got to work with the young and the old. If Himank Garg, a student in DAV College Chandigarh, helped me in screenplay and dialogue writing, then my mother, who is a professor, supervised the script and gave her inputs. And, I cannot forget the integral part of the team, 85-year-old ex-serviceman Chandra Prakashji, who does theatre at this age and has effectively enhanced the script with his performance.