Based on a true story, Kush is a short film set in Delhi in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October, 1984, when organized mobs engaged in an anti-Sikh pogrom in India’s capital city and beyond. Thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed, burned alive, beaten, raped and tortured to avenge the Prime Minister’s death. To this day, few — including government officials implicated in the massacre — have ever been held to account by India’s justice system.
The film, written and directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, tells the story of a Sikh boy named Kush:
Inspired by a true story: In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards, causing anti-Sikh riots to erupt throughout the country. A teacher travelling back from a field trip with her class of 10-year-old students struggles to protect Kush, the only Sikh student in the class, from the growing violence around him.
According to Bhutiani, the film was inspired by and based on the story told to him by his own teacher who sought to protect her young Sikh student from anti-Sikh mobs during the pogrom.
“My cousins and family saw the horror of 1984. But I am connected to this story through my teacher. In retrospect, she is a hero and role model for me.” — Kush director Shubhashish Bhutiani
On Friday, September 6, Kush will be screened in Italy at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, considered the oldest film festival in the world. The film festival (website) will run from August 28 through September 7, 2013.