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/ Director

Born November 13, 1986

My Story

Born in Kerala, India, in 1986, Bishwas Balan earned a masters degree in mass communication. He has worked in advertising and television, been a film critic and has taught film in colleges. He was assistant director to Berlinale Teddy Award nominee filmmaker Jayan Cherian and Tamil filmmaker Selvaraghavan. Kaaliraathri is debut independent short.

Director Statement

As a filmmaker and scriptwriter, I believe there are two kinds of stories. The ones that you must go in search of – the elusive ones, the ones that offer only glimpses of themselves like faraway mirages, the ones that need to be hunted down to their dens or abysses, and in the trail of which you could lose your way and end up where you started, without a story. The whole exercise requires tremendous amount of patience, perseverance and the ability to stand up to that seemingly invincible colossus of creative frustration. Then, there are the stories that come in search of you – through the cracks of memories, dreams and darkness, through people, places and journeys, and you only need to listen in as they narrate themselves. Kaaliraathri was one such. After yet another night of battling my inner demons and many nightmares, I woke up one morning and wrote the story in one go.
Fifteen minutes, and I saw my first script smiling right back at me.
Afterwards, I have often wondered how the story and its characters found me. Perhaps the story was forever lurking in the recesses of my mind, beneath memories of growing up in the state of Kerala, known as ‘God’s own country’, the land of vibrant festivals and fascinating myths. Or perhaps it was there all around me, all the time, in the form of everyday injustices against women, which tend to be conveniently brushed under the patriarchal carpet. Perhaps it was part of the innumerable news stories of domestic abuse, rape, sexual harassment, dowry deaths and other crimes against women reported every day in India. Perhaps it was the voice of the multitude of Indian women who were left unheard even as many others found theirs during the #MeToo movement in the country. Or it came from the inescapable irony of watching a people worshipping woman as goddess and placing her on the religious and mythical pedestal, only to deny her equal rights in public and domestic spheres, and to abuse her emotionally and physically behind doors locked by toxic masculinity. Perhaps it was out of sheer horror. The horror that is patriarchy and what it does to millions and millions of women.
In Kaaliraathri (Night of the Kaali), my woman ‘Kaali’, who shares her name with the powerful and fearsome Indian goddess, is mute. But her silence, deafeningly loud.

My Filmography

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My Award

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