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Second Chance: Young Indian woman’s film to be screened at Czech festival

By Rosamma Thomas* 
First-time director Subhadra Mahajan’s film Second Chance will premiere at the 58th edition of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, to be held from June 28 to July 6, 2024. Karlovy Vary, about 100 km west of capital Prague, is a city of about 50,000 residents at the confluence of two rivers, one of which, Tepla, is a warm-water river; the area has several hot springs – the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, among the Great Spa Towns of Europe.
Mahajan, who studied film at St Xavier’s in Mumbai, has long collaborated with filmmaker Pan Nalin, co-writing Angry Indian Goddesses (2015) which featured in the Toronto International Film Festival. She also worked on Last Film Show, India’s official entry to the 2023 Oscars.
Second Chance draws on Mahajan’s personal experience, living between Mumbai and her home in Himachal Pradesh. The story revolves around the protagonist Nia, who after experiencing a major trauma in her young life, retreats to the family home in the Himalayas where time, nature and unlikely friendships aid healing.
Set in the Pir Panjal ranges of the Himalayas and shot in black and white, the film features local actors Dheera Johnson, Thakri Devi and Kanav Thakur, all from Kullu, and the actors speak English, Hindi and Kullavi in the film.
The decision to shoot in black and white was taken, the director explains, to emphasize both the interior journey of the protagonist and the unique winter landscape of the Pir Panjal ranges. The filmmaker explains that the theme of the film is healing, through an inexplicable process nudged along by close relationships and a connection with nature.
This film will be among 12 films in the Proxima Competition section of the festival, which, according to the festival website, “offers space to filmmakers waiting to be discovered”.
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*Freelance journalist 

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