Synopsis

Aabida loses her husband in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai and struggles with the guilt over feeling relieved and free now that she is no longer in her marriage.

Aabida was an official selection of the 2014 WVN Online Film Festival and was awarded in the Narrative Shorts category.

About Maaria Syed

Maaria graduated in Literature in India before she moved to London, where she got a Masters in Filmmaking. Having been a part time painter and theater performer, Maaria felt cinema was the best way to combine and channelize her interests. Inspite of having lived in Mumbai, Singapore, London and Milan, Maaria is most connected to stories about spiritual enlightenment experienced by women that com from a very specific Indian setting. Her first short film “Aabida” screened in more than 20 international film festivals and won 4 awards in the Best Film category. Maaria worked in Beach House Pictures in Singapore as a writer for networks such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Fox, alongside dabbling in pre-schoolers content for television.

Once back in Mumbai, Maaria established Draw4Films, a production company based in India, hoping to create more independent cinema. ‘Chudala’, her second short film, was co-produced with Draw4Films and Drishyam Films.

She was selected among the top 24 filmmakers of Asia to be a part of the Busan Asian Film Academy 2016, where she co-directed the short film ‘Cichlid’, screened at the Busan International Film Festival 2016, where she was awarded a scholarship for her Outstanding Performance. In 2017 Maaria was invited to be part of the Fair Talent Campus in Tehran (Iran), where she won the Short Film Pitch, which is soon to be developed as a film under the guidance of the lab. She is now collaborating with the Asia Peace Film Festival, to be held in Islamabad (Pakistan) in 2017, as a member of the Jury.

Director’s Statement

Making this film meant a lot of research, sometimes under cover as it is tough to walk around without attracting attention, especially with a camera. I was out every day in the areas, entering houses of random people I met on the street and had a lovely crew who was co-operative and believed in the film and the topic. So that gave me the required push to go on. I am an Indian Muslim girl. I have relatives living in such localities and in general I really felt the need to have a protagonist who is not particularly special in anyway and give a voice to a woman who is often left unheard. I somehow knew making this film wouldn’t be easy, especially dealing with the life of a woman, a wife – and 26/11 as a backdrop means dealing with something that haunts my city to this day – I had thoughts at points to just make a simpler story, but then again this particular issue has always bothered me and I knew if I made any other film at that point I would not be totally honest with what was my driving force.

I think in all societies, well especially where I come from, being a woman means a lot of things. Unfortunately in many cases it ends up being daughter, wife, and mother. While I do believe these are beautiful relationships I do also think a woman is constantly battling to assert a personal identity, one that is not linked to a male relationship. And that is what I tried to connect to in Aabida. So yes, it’s definitely an internal turmoil which is reflected in her everyday monotonous activities like cooking and answering condolence calls. So yes there is a world out there filled with politics, hypocrisy, religious and communal divides, and then there is the heart of the protagonist who simply wants to find her own space in all these complicated terminologies.