Ashwini Kumar who was nominated at the Oscars in 2004 for "Little Terrorist' in the Live Action Short Film category has tied up with Dr. Vijay Mallya, PVR Director's Rare initiative and Alipur Films for an ecological thriller - The Forest. The film stars Jaaved Jafferi, Nandana Sen and Ankur Vikal.
It's is the story of a vacationing couple disturbed by the arrival of the wife's ex-lover, opening wounds that are best left unhealed; yet, unknown to them their troubles have only begun. They are being hunted by a leopard that has turned man-eater due to a failed poaching attempt, and it will stop at nothing to satisfy its hunger.
True to life, for more than a 150 people are killed in leopard or tiger attacks in India every year due to mounting poaching and encroachment on our dwindling wilderness. Unable to hunt their natural prey, such animals find it easier to hunt human beings and become man-eaters. The film is about a wounded leopard, whose only choice for survival is to hunt humans and is inspired by Jim Corbett's man-eater tales as one who has lived through such attacks...
In 'The Forest', a couple from a big city are on vacation in the Indian jungle to sort out a troubled marriage when they run into the wife's ex-lover. As husband and lover lock horns for the woman, primitive instincts find voice in the wilderness and they become blind to signs of a lurking presence. A starving leopard has been shot by poachers and can't hunt his normal prey. Desperate for a kill he turns on the weakest animal in the jungle - man. In a night of terror, survival will depend on outwitting a formidable hunter of the wild, a perfect killer who has become so accustomed to hunting man that he's begun to think like us...
Ashvin Kumar, says, "FINALLY! The Forest has been lost in the woods for five years and it's been a heart-breaking journey. There can't be a more humbling and educating experience than winning an Oscar nomination, producing your first feature film, then being turned down at every door in Bombay for its distribution and release.
But thanks to those rejections my journey, in the intervening years, saw me making a kids film 'Dazed in Doon' (the most uplifting experience of my life, then needlessly banned and under litigation now with the Doon School); and, with Jaaved Jaffery as producer, Inshallah, football and Inshallah, Kashmir films, which gave me the chance to be with some of the most courageous and generous people I have had the privilege of knowing. Seeing their world, their struggles put certainly rendered my woes relatively insignificant and changed my outlook on life.
I was convinced that The Forest would never release in a conventional way in India. I was waiting for a time when a forward-thinking distributor would collaborate on a platform release i.e. a release that is not expecting to make all its money in two days. That distributor turned out to be PVR, who are known to be a first-mover in our industry.
I think we are witnessing a coming-of-age for Indian cinema. That day, when a network of alternative theatres will run independent cinema, is not far. The Forest has been a coming-of-age for me, and I am delighted to be a small part of this bold new experiment.
Commendations to Mr. Sanjeev Bijli and Mr. Shiladitya Bora for creating this space - I hope audiences will vindicate our stand and come out in droves to see The Forest and celebrate this new way of releasing independent cinema! "
The Forest, along with Little Terrorist will release on in PVR cinemas at Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Chennai, Chandigarh, Raipur, Indore and Lucknow through the PVR Director's Rare banner.