In the short film The Idiot, a beleaguered policeman (Virendra Saxena) asks the titular character (Arfi Lamba) why he decided to hijack a plane. Didn’t he know he is a Muslim and that there were special rules for minorities?

“Isn’t that the sentiment right now?” said Lamba, whose company Bombay Berlin Film Productions has co-produced the film, which has been directed by Sriram Ganapathy and written by Ganapathy and Ruchi Joshi. “We made it in January when this mood wasn’t so strong. It seems to be what is happening right now.”

The idea for Murkh or The Idiot, which has been selected for the 40th edition of the Asian-American International Film Festival in New York (July 25-August 5), emerged out of Joshi and Lamba’s desire to do something other than post their outrage on the internet. Both felt that Facebook activism only helped upto a certain point.

“Cinema is a very very special medium,” Lamba said. “Secularism is within the fabric of the country and it was fostered by our biggest leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi. But on a smaller level, even a film like Amar Akbar Anthony helped the unity of India.”

The 18-minute short, which has been filmed in black-and-white, as a comment on the binary nature of debate in India. It has been inspired by the true story of the Egyptian man who hijacked a plane to meet his ex-wife in March 2016.

“The fact that it is true makes it more authentic,” Lamba said. “Love can make you do crazy things, and this crazy funny event sort of showed that.”

The Idiot|Bombay Berlin Film Production.
The Idiot|Bombay Berlin Film Production.