India/2015/87 Minutes/ English & Hindi with English Subtitles
A North Indian couple, in their early 60s, at their mountain retreat. Their son has just gotten married, a reception has ended and all the guests have left. She chooses this moment to tell her husband she is leaving. What follows is an endless day: the avalanche of this long-gathering decision and what it means to a decades-long relationship.
Even as the couple tries to get to the heart of the matter, they find the themes and the big questions of their lives beyond their grasp. They are two people, isolated in a house in the hills, preparing for the harsh Himalayan winter, trying to find themselves one last time. What will they succeed in rescuing from the landslide of memory and emotion?
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Pushan Kriplani is a cinematographer and a theater director. He graduated with a degree in English literature and earned his Master’s in Film and TV production from the University of Bristol, with a sprecialization in Cinematography.
He has worked on over thirty productions for the stage and for the radio, in capacities ranging from director to actor to designer, musician and producer. He is a founder member of the industrial theater co. As a cinematograpger, he has filmed several features, as well as commercials, documentaries and shorts, working with Shyam Benegal, Ram Madhvani and Zafar Hai, amongst others, as well as for National Geographic, Discovery and the BBC.
He has also directed six documentary shorts. He lives and works in Mumbai, India. This is his first feature film as director.
The Threshold’ presented us an opportunity to examine questions of loneliness, inertia, habit and choices, but set in a largely neglected demographic- in Indian cinema, in Indian society- people in their 60s.
The Threshold is about people we don’t normally notice. The people who are always at the edges of the family photograph.
But we know these people. They are our aunts and uncles. They are our parents. They are our grandparents. We will become them.
The screenplay was developed in collaboration with the actors. The characters onscreen aren’t versions of the actors themselves, but they came from Rajit (Kapur) and Neena (Gupta). They came from a deep, scarred place, from having seen the world a long time. There are things here that they pulled out of themselves. There are things that we invented on the spot.
This is a film about the emotionally inarticulate. They talk about everything except that which they need to. We tend to forget that when it comes to the things that are important, the things that are critical to our lives, we don’t have the words.
Because of the way this film was financed I was free to make the film I wanted to make and I could abandon the classical three-act structure. Our lives don’t have three acts, they don’t have structure. The important things always blindside us. So, we could use the passing of the day, use hunger and fatigue and how they affect our moods, return to an unending conversation, over and over, different things coming back to the same problems, and silence.
We shot it in available light because I wanted to get rid of as much of the paraphernalia of filmmaking as possible. I don’t remember saying “Action” or “Cut”. We just wanted to let the actors have the space to tell the truth, to get out of their way, not have them hit marks.
We found a way to work that was organic. Collaborative. Respectful.
She doesn’t know why she wants to leave. Except she can’t bear to stay.
They are everywhere, these people. They are us. They go to the cinema like everyone else, but there are no films about them. Nothing that addresses what their emotional lives are like without resorting to cheap comedies and pensioners falling for young jogging women. Or women who's whole lives are the kitchen.
Can you have an existential crisis in this country (India)? On screen? Do you really need to fall in love with another man before you can walk out of the house and a marriage that makes you unhappy?
We were thinking Linklater. We were thinking Mike Leigh. We were thinking Bergman in ‘Scenes from a Marriage’.
Those filmmakers look at real people in real situations. Without high drama. And they have faith that the audience will go with them.
Neena Gupta is a critically acclaimed actress, director and filmmaker. She has appeared in films as diverse as Gandhi, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Mandi, Trikaal andkhalnayak and in three Merchant Ivory productions: The Deceivers, In custody and Cotton Mary. She won the National Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Who Chokri. She has also been a path-breaking director and filmmaker. She directed and starred in Saans, one of the most critically acclaimed and popular dramas in Indian television history. She also won the National Award (Best First Non-Feature Film) for Bazaar Sitaram.
Rajit Kapoor is a stage and screen actor. His portrayal of the beloved detective Byomkesh Bakshi first brought him national acclaim. Since then, he has appeared in films as wide-ranging as Mammo, Zubeida, Ghulan, Guzaarish, Shaitan and Kick. He won the National Award for Best Actor for his work in The Making of the Mahatma. He was also recognized by the Kerala State Film Awards for his work in Agnisakshi. He runs the theater company Rage Productions in Mumbai, India and has recently directed the plays Mahua and The Glass Managerie.
Dhanendra Kawade (Sunil)
Directed & Photographed By: Pushan Kriplani
Produced By: Vishal Dhandhia & Akshat Shah
Executive Producers: Arghya Lahiri & Baylon Fonseca
Associate Cinematographer: Bhavesh Rawal
Written By: Nihaarika Negi with Neena Gupta, Rajit Kapur & Pushan Kriplani
Based on an idea by: Kausar Munir
Music: Tapas Relia
Song performed By: Nandini Sreekar
Editor: Pradip Patil
Production Designer: Dhanendra Kawade
“IS HELD TOGETHER BY THE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES OF ITS TWO PROTAGONISTS…AND DIRECTED WITH CONSIDERABLE SKILL AND CONTROL.” - SHYAM BENEGAL
”IT’S AN INCREDIBLE CONVERSATION. A SCALPEL WIELDED BY VERY GENTLE HANDS…A BEAUTIFUL FILM.” - TILOTTAMA SHOME
“THIS BEAUTIFUL SLICE OF LIFE FILM…AN IDEAL WATCH FOR AN URBANE ENLIGHTED AUDIENCE CRAVING FOR BETTER CINEMA” – MALAVIKA SANGGHVI, MID-DAY
“SOMETHING REAL AND RAW AND HONEST, ATTRIBUTES WHICH AREN’T NECESSARILY PRESENT IN SOME OF THE MORE HERALDED INDIAN FILMS” - UDAY BHATIA, LIVE MINT
“THE THRESHOLD REALLY HELP ME FROM THE FIRST MOMENT TO THE LAST AND PUSHPAN KRIPLANI IS A FILMMAKER I WANT TO WORK WITH.” – KALKI KOECHLIN
“A FILM THAT MAKES YOU ENVIOUS OF THE MAKER’S EXPERIENCE OF MAKING IT” – R BALKI