China Watch Blog has learnt that Artsploitation Films, an ascendant American film distribution company, fulfills the promise it made earlier this year to bring edgy international movies to North American audiences with its debut release, GANDU.
Directed by Bengali filmmaker “Q” (Kaushik Mukherjee), this independent Indian film is a deliriously frantic, music-infused look at one poor young man and his dreams of becoming a rap star. GANDU (Hindi slang for “asshole”) is a bold and entertaining example of new Indian filmmaking that, ironically, is banned in India.
“When I started the label, I wasn’t sure exactly what kinds of titles I’d try to acquire. Then I saw Gandu,” recalls Raymond Murray, president of Artsploitation Films. “I left the theater thinking this is exactly the kind of film Artsploitation should champion: edgy, strange, exciting, sexy and controversial. It’s international, it’s drama, it’s an art film, it’s a hyperventilating genre film.”
On December 11, Artsploitation Films will release GANDU on DVD and VOD
GANDU had its international premiere in 2010 at the South Asian International Film Festival in New York City, where it won the Jury Award (Runner-Up) for Best Film. The following year, Q earned the award for Best New Director at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival. One of the most widely internationally screened South Asian films in recent years, GANDU appeared at film festivals in Berlin, Rome, Istanbul, Amsterdam, London, Helsinki, Singapore, Croatia and South Africa.
International reviews have praised the film: “A highly transgressive, visually spectacular assault on the senses” (Time Out London); “…Bengali thrash-metal rap musical Gandu grabs auds by the throat and gradually works its way down” (Variety); “Bold, energetic and by turns both deliberately vulgar and sharply incisive…a film that straddles a heretofore unnoticed line between Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void” (Twitch).
Travis Crawford, an acquisitions consultant for Artsploitation Films, discusses GANDU’s fiercely anti-Bollywood attitude in the package’s liner notes: “The film isn’t just a rebellion against ‘Bollywood’ cliché, but rather an explosion of cinematic anarchy directed at the pedestrian nature of all of contemporary world filmmaking.”