Three Nepalese children get separated from their parents while entering the Indian state of Sikkim and must rely on each other to survive, in Bollywood actor Paakhi A. Tyrewala's newest work.
Pahuna: The Little Visitors
Paakhi A. Tyrewala
Festival tickets go on sale September 4 at 10am (TIFF Members’ pre-sale on September 2 from 10am to 4pm).
Like a contemporary, Indian version of Hansel and Gretel, The Little Visitors perches between realism and fable as it unfolds a story of children performing near-miracles in order to survive.
Amrita and her brother Pranay are forced by armed fighters to flee their Nepali village. Along with their parents, relatives, and baby brother, Bishal, they rush through the forest until darkness and exhaustion force them to stop for the night. An uncle regales the children with fireside stories of Christian priests in long black robes, who are as frightening as any storybook wolf. When the three young siblings get separated in the forest from the adults, Amrita and Pranay must forage for food and find shelter in order to keep Bishal alive. Haunted by their uncle's story, they also keep a watchful eye out for priests.
Produced by global megastar Priyanka Chopra and Madhu Chopra, her mother and producing partner, The Little Visitors is the latest in a planned series of films drawn from Indian regions underrepresented on the big screen. (The film was shot in the relatively remote Indian state of Sikkim, with an all-Sikkim cast.) The Chopras' Purple Pebble Pictures is committed not just to broadening their nation's cinema beyond Bollywood and the commercial juggernauts of South India, but also to giving voice to the stories of girls and women. Director Paakhi A. Tyrewala captures the innocence and spontaneity of her child leads while capturing the magical beauty of India's northeast.