Indian film on religious harmony wins top prize in global contest

By Staff Reporter

An Indian film on communal harmony won the top prize at #ACutBeyond, a global filmmaking competition aimed at empowering independent filmmakers all over the world to tell their stories and showcase their work to a global audience.

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The theme of the competition, organised by a Singapore-based startup Filmwallas and supported by HCL Technologies, an Indian multinational IT services company with $7.2 billion in annual revenues, revolved around next-generation technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Automation, Digital and Analytics, and how these technological advancements are juxtaposed in today’s world and human Relationships. About 2,000 filmmakers from around the world expressed interest in the contest, and 70 teams participated in the contest.

The Complaint, a movie by Mrinal Bahukhandi which won the first prize, tells the poignant tale of how a Muslim technician and Indian retiree reconcile with old emotional scars over the course of a laptop diagnostic check.

“I asked myself the simple question of the need for technology in our lives. This brought me to the conclusion that technology brings us closer and makes things easier… it is a bridge,” said director Bahukhandi.

The short film, launched in partnership with, on India’s Independence Day was widely appreciated and has already garnered more than 80,000 views on YouTube.

“What makes Filmwallas’ brand solutions unique is its mentorship process. For long brands have looked down upon crowdsourcing of videos because quality becomes an issue,” said Zafar Anjum, the CEO and founder of Filmwallas.

“Filmwallas makes sure that its contestants go through an enrichment process by qualified Bollywood mentors who are experts in their own fields. It’s because of this process that enables us to source high-quality films for brands at a very low cost,” he added.

The four winners were selected by a jury panel, consisting of award-winning filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor, veteran actor Ashish Vidyarthi, HCL Head of Corporate Marketing Apurva Chamaria and HCL Chief Marketing Officer Matt Preschern.

Apart from The Companion, three other movies made by Indian filmmakers bagged the second and the joint third prize. The Priceless Art, which depicts the moving narrative of how a small boy raised money for his ailing sister through the power of instant messaging technologies and the kindness of humanity, emerged as first runner-up.

“Most of us are so involved with social media that we forget to stop for a minute and think about the welfare of others,” said director Mohd Asif Hameed. “We can still bring about a huge change with that little piece of technology we carry in our hands and pockets every day,” he added.

The team that produced The Hajji clinched the second runner-up for their moving story of how a boy employed the power of virtual reality to help his neighbour’s dream of experiencing The Hajj come true. The other second runner-up The 8th Sense was a stellar imagining of how virtual reality and automation could change the way humans live, from the simple action of watering plants to attending interviews with a cybernetic presence.

Founded in Singapore in 2015, ‘Filmwallas’ is the world’s first AI-based filmmaking platform that brings talent, brands and the film and TV industry together. The platform is supported by more than 20 Bollywood and global film personalities including Prakash Jha, Nagesh Kukunoor, and Ashish Vidyarthi.