Produced by SKLS Galaxy Mall Productions and Madras Stories, the film has been nominated in three categories at the upcoming New York Indian Film Festival 2022: Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress. Burqa will premiere at the festival during the first week of May.
Sarjun, who last directed Blood Money, says about Burqa, “The film is not related to any of the current issues surrounding burqa/hijab. Burqa is a film that revolves around one of the customs within Islam that many are not aware of. I have explored this custom with two major characters and a few supporting ones. It is a love story of a girl from an Islamic family, who meets a stranger. The rest of the story talks about what happens between the two.”
While Kalaiarasan plays the stranger, Mirnaa, who acts in both Tamil and Malayalam films, essays the role of the Muslim girl. “Kalai is my long-time friend and I met Mirnaa through a mutual friend. Both of them came on board as soon as I pitched the project,” says Sarjun.
Filmmaker-actor GM Kumar will also be seen in a pivotal role in Burqa.
Sarjun’s filmography includes commercial films like Blood Money and Airaa as well as indie films like Lakshmi and now, Burqa. Speaking about this, he says, “I have tried to balance my projects so far. I am also trying to make more mainstream films and series, but during the breaks between that, I venture into the indie filmmaking sphere.”
On opting to go the independent film route with Burqa, Sarjun says, “Having been in cinema for a while, you kind of know what will work. This kind of story is not very commercial nor does it cater to a wide audience. Burqa is for the niche OTT platforms. Even the budget was a shoestring one. Everybody who worked on the film, did so out of passion.”
While the screenplay was written by Anusuya Vasudevan, Sarjun himself wrote the story and dialogues. “I come from a Muslim family and I got the idea for Burqa about three years ago, when something happened at my house. It served as the inspiration for this film,” he reveals.
He further adds, “We have tried to talk about something significant in the film, and I hope it is received in the right way by audiences. Although the idea is very sensitive, we have laid emphasis on the storytelling. People who enjoy slow-burn films will like Burqa.”
Burqa was shot in Chennai by cinematographer G Balamurugan in October 2021. It has been edited by B Pravin Baaskar and the runtime is 82 minutes. The film’s music is composed by R Sivatmikha.
Speaking about the film’s release, the director says that they are still in talks with some OTT platforms and have also submitted the film to other festivals. “The results of the New York festival will be announced between May 7-14. We are also in talks with OTT platforms and the film might premiere on one of those, after its festival run.”
After Burqa, Sarjun will be writing and directing a thriller series for Y NOT Studios.