The Silent Heroes, an adventure feature film based on the heroics of 13 deaf children amidst the Himalayan backdrop of Uttarkashi district has taken the nation by storm. Having garnered nationwide acclaim in film festivals for the soulful story, laudable performances and spectacular locations, this film can be considered one of the gems of 2015 for Indian parallel cinema aficionados.
The children cast of 13 children in the film are not professional actors; they are regular school-going children like many. Although with a difference. These children cannot hear and some of them have been differently-able their whole life. They express their emotions, feelings, thoughts using sign languages. In a society which neglects the less fortunate, these strong-willed children showed remarkable perseverance and dedication during the film shoot, recalls Mahesh Bhatt who directed The Silent Heroes. The director believes no professional actor could have conveyed the emotions and expressions with the same sincerity and intensity as these children, who have been experienced these emotions all their life.
Acclaimed actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui of Gangs of Wasseypur fame praised the performance of these kids, especially Khwaish. It is like a dream come true for these children. The children cast consists of Khwaish, Gurfareen, Aashish, Jaideep, Tarun, Parakhar, Radhika, Shweta, Shalini, Ujaif, Renu, Nikhil and Samreen.
All 13 children who acted in the film are from Bajaj Institute of Learning, Dehradun.
The film showcases picture-postcard locations for which Uttarkashi, a district in Uttarakhand is world renowned for. The film has been entirely shot in Uttarakhand. Home to the mighty Ganges and the Himalayas, Uttarkashi has always lured filmmakers to its Himalayan paradise of lush green meadows, enchanting rivers and colossal snow-clad peaks. Films like Amitabh Bacchan starrer Kabhie Kabhie (1970) and Raj Kapoor’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1984) were shot in Uttarkashi.
Success of this film could open doors for filmmakers and production companies to capture the Himalayan beauty of Uttarakhand and consequently promote the tourism in the state through their films. The beauty of Uttarakhand deserves a 35 mm screen.
Mahesh Bhatt, the auteur of The Silent Heroes hails from Dyuld village in the Ekeshwar block of Pauri district of Uttarakhand. He currently lives in Dehradun. The idea to make a film with real differently-abled children came when he was working on a documentary on a deaf school. The way these children communicated with their parents through sign languages left an impression on the debutant director. “They taught me a lot about life, in sign language” says Mahesh.
The film releases in theaters nationwide on December 11, 2015.