Celebrity stylist Sapna Bhavnani's Sindhustan wins hearts at the New York Indian Film Festival

Celebrity stylist Sapna Bhavani impresses audience at New York Indian film fest with her debut docu, Sindhustan
Celebrity stylist Sapna Bhavnani
Celebrity stylist Sapna Bhavnani

The World Premiere of celebrity stylist Sapna Moti Bhavnani’s directorial debut feature Sindhustan took place at the ongoing New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) (May 7-12) to a packed house, which brought together the Sindhis from India and Pakistan under one roof.

“I am overwhelmed by the full house and the response from Sindhis from both sides of the border. I am confident that it won’t be long till I get to go to Sindh and walk the land with my inked legs,” says first-time filmmaker Sapna, adding, “I also understood how urgent it was to make the film and how full of life and love my people are from both sides of the border”.

<em>The audience at the premiere of Sapna Bhavnani's Sindhustan at NYIFF</em>
The audience at the premiere of Sapna Bhavnani's Sindhustan at NYIFF

When asked why she chose to showcase her film at NYIFF Sapna says“It's a great platform to tell our story to the world and introduce it to the history of the Sindhi community who were part of the largest migration to be ever witnessed.”

Soon after this Sapna is headed to Atlanta Indian Film Festival where her film, which has won the Griffith Film School Award at DocEdge Kolkata 2019 is a part of the Official Selection screening.

A fascinating tale of the Sindhi community’s migration to India narrated through a series of extensively designed body tattoos, all of which are illustrated on Sapna Moti Bhavnani body, Sindhustan also refers to the River Sindh, which is Asia’s largest river flowing through India and forms an important part of India’s history.

<em>Sapna at the QnA session post-screening of Sindhustan at NYIFF</em>
Sapna at the QnA session post-screening of Sindhustan at NYIFF

The film is edited by Kabir Singh Chowdhry who had directed the Jio MAMI 2018 Grand Jury Award-winning mockumentary Mehsampur.

Sapna thought of making Sindhustan during an interesting conversation with her maternal grandmother many moons back. Thereafter, she set out to chronicle the Sindh community’s history and thus Sindhustan was born. The documentary includes several stories from India and Sindh. It also includes Bhavnani illustrating the Sindh community’s journey through the tattoos inked on her legs, which traces the history of the Sindh community. The tattoos on her legs are designed using the art forms Ajrak and Madhubani which have their roots in Sindh and India respectively.  

The celebrity stylist has worked on the documentary for seven years, during which she spoke to people from India as well as Pakistan hailing from the Sindh region, as she wanted to cover all the perspectives of its fascinating history. She also took the help of her friends from Pakistan for shooting footage of the Sindh. And thus, the documentary Sindhustan was finally made.

Currently, Sapna is also writing a book tentatively titled Chapter One. 

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