We have the power to claim our own life regardless of the circumstances. That’s the powerful message of “Raakh ko Dhua” according to Karan Shah, the producer behind this incredibly moving and motivating music video. Shah and his collaborators chose to take on the topic of acid attack victims and their private and social struggles through this production.
Choosing to focus on the strength of two characters in the story, the creators of this music video have attained an emotional alchemy which depicts a story that fixates on the main character’s decision towards positivity and courage rather than shirking away from public places. “Raakh ko Dhua” is as inspiring to audiences as any of the great dramatic films of cinema and perhaps more timely than most. Remarkably, Mr. Shah and his team manifested this music video on a miniscule budget, in deference to its slick and enchanting visual style; proof that talent is vastly more important than deep pockets.
As with most art, manifesting “Raakh ko Dhua” was the result of inspired creatives. Karan recalls, “Pranit (Sahni, the director of the project) had read an article about how easy and cheap it is to get acid in India which leads to many acid attacks per year. The violence against women in India is a big problem and he wanted to bring it further to attention. But he didn’t want to indulge in the sorrows and make people pity about this.”
The song for the video was written by Divyansh Sharma and cinematographer Raghav Adhithya was brought aboard. Karan Shah was already famed in the community for his work on Pushpavalli, winner of three Istanbul Film Awards and featured on Amazon Prime, and was enlisted to ensure the exceptional level of this entire production.
Mr. Shah communicates, “I read Pranit’s rough idea and told him I’m in. The basic idea was great and we discussed it at length. If you notice, the number of people who wear the mask around our protagonist reduces as the video transpires. That was discussed in our first call when I felt we need to have fewer people wear masks to show how as a society we need to be more open and accepting.”
Karan found that his producing skills were well tested during the making of “Raakh ko Dhua.” Managing a large production crew with extras and a “challenging” budget required calling in lots of favors and thinking on your feet; otherwise known as a typical day for a professional like Shah. He relates, “Ultimately, producing is the art of planning and negotiating. You’re trying to achieve a goal and keep everyone on your team happy while doing it.
If there was a last minute location we wanted, I’d call a friend of a friend and figure out a way to procure the right permit at a moment’s notice. In regards to the star of this music video, I brought in an NGO to make sure Soni (that star of “Raakh ko Dhua”) felt comfortable on set. For the crew, it meant always making sure I had a caterer ready to deliver food if the shoot went long; never have a hungry crew.”
None of this stands out when viewing “Raakh ko Dhua”; one is simply swept in the admiration of this woman and her ability to rise above any outer imposed judgment to attain her own positive self-image, which is exactly as it should be and as the team who created this music video intended. Karan Shah seems quite pleased as he communicates, “I think the most rewarding part is always how people react.
People had such a positive response to this music video and they recognized what we were going for. It was recognized at international and national film festivals, which was a welcome bonus. I don’t think any of us aimed to make this specifically for recognition like that, we just wanted to make something moving and relevant – and people thought of it that way.”