Utpal Kalal's debut documentary, The 14th February & Beyond, to be shown at Melbourne festival

Kala's debut docu feature is already creating ripples in international film festivals 

author_img Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  21st October 2020 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  21st October 2020 12:00 AM

A still from The 14th February & Beyond

A doctor-turned-filmmaker, Utpal Kalal chose to tell stories on-screen because he found cinema to be the most visceral and powerful medium that allows expressing the stories he believes in and even at times, lead to social change. 

Kalal started filmmaking five years ago and since then he has directed several music videos, commercial ads, short documentaries. 

Utpal Kalal

The 14th February & Beyond is his first documentary feature film and it has already won two best film awards and nine nominations at the prestigious film festivals, nationally and internationally so far. Now, it is going to be premiered in Australia and Belgium as a part of the official selection at the IFFM (Indian Film Festival of Melbourne) & Millennium Int’l Documentary Film Festival, Brussels.

A still from The 14th February & Beyond

We had a short chat with the filmmaker about the film and more. Excerpts:

What was the idea behind The 14th February & Beyond?

As a young adolescent, I learnt about Valentine's Day from the local newspapers that used to publish the romantic Shaayaris dedicated by the boys to woo the girls they liked and we used to search in that column if it had any familiar name from our area too! 

This whole thing used to turn out to be a big embarrassment, especially for those girls whose names were published with romantic lines, but they had neither any idea about it nor they had ever given any consent for it. I also saw girls’ names with abusive words written on the walls of public and School toilets if they turned down Valentine proposals. Somehow, it did not leave any pleasant impression about this day on my tender mind and this kept on repeating every year with newer heights

A still from The 14th February & Beyond

Later, when I went to Kota city for my medical entrance preparation, I saw that Valentine’s day had gone to the next level where certain coaching institutes had to deploy security personnel to avoid situations like eve-teasing or molestation. 

The questions I had about Valentine’s day never stopped bothering me. It took about two years of research before I came up with this film. I hope that this film ignites a conversation about this crucial issue that has been ignored for long enough now. 

What are the other projects you are currently working on?

Currently, I’m working on a film based on child abuse which is in the writing phase.