It is 1993 and as the country eagerly awaits Boris Yeltsin’s historic visit to India, the Indian Intelligence Bureau recruits an unassuming sign-language interpreter and school teacher to interrogate Ashok, a deaf waiter who is in custody over an alleged plot to assassinate the Russian President. What develops over the course of the fraught proceedings is a fragile bond between two isolated men that oscillates between curiosity, mistrust, and a primal understanding. And this is exactly what two rival factions of the Bureau are counting on and set to manipulate, as they forge their own kind of cold war.
Atul Sabharwal (Midnight Lost & Found, Audience Award for Best Short, IFFLA 2008) returns to the festival with the world premiere of his enthralling slow-burn period espionage thriller that seduces us into an atmospheric maze of secrets, lies and repressed emotions. A moody visual design captures the beguiling textures of Berlin, the Delhi haunt frequented by diplomats where the center of the drama lies. A top-notch cast includes a fabulously sinister Rahul Bose (Mr. And Mrs. Iyer) and an excellent Aparshakti Khurana (Dangal), while Ishwak Singh (Made in Heaven) mesmerizes without ever uttering a word. The unsettling glimmer in his eyes eloquently rides the threshold between shrewd thrill and utter desperation, commanding our constantly shifting assumptions in a game of power where profound kinship and deceit may be two faces of the same coin.