FREE screening, included with Beyond All Boundaries ticket
A school field trip rapidly goes awry in this short film based on the shocking death of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 and the large-scale ethnic violence tragedy that followed. Kush follows a group of school children that become responsible for the protection of their classmate, Kush (Shayaan Sameer), as news of Gandhi’s assassination spreads across the country. Hours from home and with a bus as their only form of transportation, things go from bad to worse as armed guards operating roadblocks begin to exact their own form of justice against any Sikh they find. Kush, the only Sikh in his class, must rely on the courage of his peers and the strength of Gita, (Sonika Chopra) his teacher, if he hopes to return home alive.
Kush takes a look back at one of the bloodiest and controversial events in Indian history through the viewpoint of a child and his personal loss of innocence as a result of tensions between social factions. Director Shubhashish Bhutiani has stated that though the film deals with issues specific to Sikhs, his purpose in bringing Kush to the big screen was to convey a message of compassion that would be universal for audiences. In his own words: “We have seen people like this [Gita] before rise up and help in times of suffering. The teacher in the film might as well be Oscar Schindler and the setting, Nazi Germany.” Winner of the Best Short Film Award at the renowned Venice Film Festival in 2013, Kush is a powerful debut statement from Bhutiani.