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‘Qissa’ to release in India on 26 September

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NEW DELHI: Anup Singh’s Qissa, which has already been released in Germany and shown in various film festivals including London and Durban, is to be released in India and Canada on 26 September.

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival almost exactly a year ago. The movie was released in Germany in July 2014 and was released earlier this week in France.

The film is an official co-production between Heimat film (Germany), NFDC (India), Augustus Film (Netherlands) and Cine-sud Promotion (France) with Match Factory as the sales agent.

A partition drama featuring Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal and Irrfan Khan, Qissa won the NETPAC award for Best Asian Film at Toronto International Film Festival 2013, The Dioraphte Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2014; and a Special Mention by the International Jury and Inalco Jury Award at the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema this year.

Set amidst the ethnic cleansing and general chaos that accompanied India’s partition in 1947, this sweeping drama stars Khan as a Sikh (Umber Singh) attempting to forge a new life for his family while keeping their true identities a secret from their community.

It is here that the story takes a remarkable turn. Having already fathered daughters, Singh now wants a son. When his next child is born he celebrates his wish come true, but there is one problem: the baby is in fact a girl. As Umber's daughter is raised as a boy, the characters are propelled with greater and greater urgency towards their inevitable fates.

Qissa is originally an Arabic word meaning folk tale. Both the word and the idea migrated from the Gulf into the Punjab, still connected by the ancient oral narratives handed down in communal settings. Working within this tradition, director Anup Singh gives his film both the grand themes and elemental emotions of classic storytelling.

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