It was an absolute pleasure meeting the man behind the award-winning movie “ReFraction”, Kaushik Das at the All Lights India International Film Festival at Hyderabad. After learning about the story behind this trending movie and how it was creating waves in International Film Festivals around the world, our team decided we could not miss the opportunity to meet the ace artist Kaushik Das during his short visit to India!
The producer of the film and the lead player in front of the camera, Das, has worked in a number of Indian crossover productions including the bilingual Hindi-English film “Salt Bridge” where he joined a stellar cast including the likes of Rajeev Khandelwal (“Table No. 21”, “Reporters”) and National Award winner Usha Jadhav (“Dhag”, “Bhoothnath 2”). The music of “Salt Bridge” went on to be shortlisted for nominations at the 88th Academy Awards. His performance of Rahul, the Bangladeshi asylum seeker, in “ReFraction” has also bagged him several international awards.
In our meeting at Hyderabad, the Australian resident, with roots in India, was wonderfully warm and welcoming. He passionately explained to us the strong humanitarian message behind the film, “At its essence, the whole of humanity can be traced back to one original source. We share the same heart, the same impulses, the same needs and the same stories. Our commonalities are imprinted in our very DNA and we hail from the one original source of light. Yet our varied life circumstances and historical journeys have tied us to the critical crossroad in the narrative of civilisation where this one radiant light has been bent out of shape, or refracted, rendering us blind to this fundamental truth. “ReFraction” is a modern day Australian thriller, and a story powered by the belief that we are all one.
“ReFraction” explores the shared ancestry between people hailing from the Indian Subcontinent and Australian Aboriginals, something that has always fascinated Kaushik Das being a first generation Indian-Australian himself.
“ReFraction” follows Jay Cooper, a successful Austalian Aboriginal lawyer (played by Heath Bergersen who has starred in acclaimed films like “Rabit Proof Fence”, “Secret River” and “Japanese Story”) raised by foster parents from the young age of eleven. As a child, the authorities separated him from his indigenous mother, after she killed his brother in a freak accident. Jay returns to his native homeland to bury his estranged mother whom he had not seen for the last thirty years, when an unexpected turn of events ﬁnds him hostage to a mad knife-wielding stranger (played by Kaushik Das). Later, Heath’s character learns that the stranger is a Bangladeshi asylum seeker who had been shipwrecked on the Australian coastline. The unlikely duo cannot communicate very well so must speak to each other’s hearts as they embark on a dangerous journey of redemption that could lead them both to their eventual demise.
The opening of the film features a beautiful rendition of “asathomasathgamaya” performed by classical Australian-Indian artist Menaka Thomas from the band Spirit of Bhakti and the true meaning of the ancient hymn is imbued in the film’s storyline.
Major portions of the film are shot in North Stradbroke Island, inhabited by the native owners of the land, the Quandamooka people. The movie is further nourished by exquisite performances by the dance troupe, the YuluBurri Ba Dancers, and songs by Joshua Walker, the songman of Quandamooka people.
Mirko Grillini, who is a well-known actor and has featured in major parts in large international productions including Emmy Nominated show “Wanted” and the “Chronicles of Narnia” developed the story as written by Das into a captivating screenplay and directed this very sentimental piece. Mirko’s directorial skills has gifted the film several awards.
“ReFraction is about the spiritual connectivity between life and death and the unshakeable bond with Mother Nature held by the people who lived the earth thousands of years before us. The story is one of courage, determination and compassion, where differences are not the enemy and the discovery of each other hearts, leads to the realisation that we are all one. I’m so pleased to see that “ReFraction” has received recognition overseas and that through this film, we could showcase internationally one of the most ancient populations of this beautiful country, The Quandamooka People.”, says Mirko Grillini.
It is usual that international big budget films overpower smaller independent productions. However, international audiences have always proved story is king.
“ReFraction” has received a wonderful response in the film festival circuit. It has won Best Short Film at the Australian Industry Screen Network Awards and Best NRI Short Film at Delhi International Film Festival. After its World Premiere in Hyderabad at the All Lights India International Film Festival, the film will be heading to the largest film festival in Bangladesh, the Dhaka International Film Festival. This small film has overshadowed much bigger productions receiving a total of 17 awards and nominations in film festivals worldwide proving international film lovers uphold good films irrespective of their size!
For updates on “ReFraction”, go to facebook.com/refractionthemovie
Watch the Behind the Scenes 10 minute Mini Documentary “Filming on Quandamooka Country”