The National Film Award recognises the hardship of migrant workers, according to Vishal Bhardwaj

Updated: Jul 24

Filmmaker and music director Vishal Bhardwaj is happy to break his dry spell and get his eighth National Film Award of Best Music Direction in the Non-Feature Film category. And he says the honour also recognises the pain of migrant workers.

His award-winning film, 1232 Kms: Marenge Toh Wahin Jaakar, which documents the suffering and anguish of migrant workers during the initial wave of the virus outbreak and lockdown, was the subject of much praise.

I may have been stuck on seven for the past six or seven years. I'm overjoyed to get the honour. This was the last thing the project needed," Bhardwaj explains.

The 56-year-old goes on to say, "There were two reasons why I felt that way. First of all, it was a documentary. For documentaries, I changed directions. Usually, songs are not included in documentaries. I was so moved by the documentary that I decided to express myself through poetry and music.

The director recalls the music's creation by saying, "During the pandemic, I had moved to Mussoorie. Gulzar and I were really affected when Vinod Kapri reached out to us. We decided to perform it for free and requested him to charge for the essential recording.

Because of the epidemic and the pictures we were seeing of the migrants travelling tens of thousands of kilometres, we were all tense inside. Marenge To Wahin Jaakar is how Gulzar ji summed it up. Through the documentary, I was able to convey my emotions," he says, adding that the soundtrack of the film made him think of Chodh Aye Hum Wo Galiyan.

Here, Bhardwaj recognises that the national honour also takes into account the plight of migrant labourers. "We don't acknowledge each other, not at all. I want to express my gratitude to the judges for recognising not just this song but also the suffering of all migrants through the lyrics, "jo itni mushkilyun se guzare apne ghar jaane ke liye."

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