In the early 1970s, a small film crew arrived in a village in the state of Rajasthan in northwest India. It was headed by director Mani Kaul, an iconic figure of Indian arthouse cinema, who was determined to adapt a classic ghost story for the big screen – but without a script, guided mainly by his haunted mind. Shot with a handheld Bolex, with a slow, 16mm night film and the active participation of the villagers (who refrained from using electricity during the shoot and offered to whitewash every corner that would be visible on screen), the story of the love of a young bride and a ghost that takes her husband’s form has survived through time as a monument of artistic perfection; it is also a singular example of how ingenuity can overcome indigence and how the unique creative vision can (and must) meet collective action.
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Direction: Mani Kaul
Script: Mani Kaul, based on the story by Vijayadan Detha
Cinematography: Navroze Contractor
Editing: Ravi Patnaik
Sound: Dijendra Bijoy Biswas
Actors: Ravi Menon, Kana Ram, Raisa Padamsee, Hardan, Shambhudan, Manohar Lalas, Bhola Ram
Production: Film Finance Corporation, National Music Dance Centre
Producers: Mani Kaul
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: India
Production Year: 1973
Duration: 81'
Contact: National Film Development Corporation Limited
Awards/Distinctions: Golden Lotus for Best Director – India National Film Awards 1974, Forum of New Cinema Interim Award – Berlinale 1975

Mani Kaul

Mani Kaul (1944-2011) was one of the key directors of “parallel cinema” (or “New Indian Cinema”) of the 1970s. Kaul, who graduated from the Film and Television institute of India (FTII) in 1966, broke with the conventions of Indian cinema in his first film, A Day’s Bread (1969). It was followed by Ashadh Ka Ek Din (1971) and Duvidha (1973), his first film in color and the first set in the desert landscape of Rajasthan, influenced by Vijaydan Detha’s writings on the local folklore. In 1976 he co-founded the Yukt Film Co-operative, a 16-member collective of former students of the Film and Television Institute of India, and was one of the four directors of their Ghashiram Kotwal (1976), an avantgarde experiment in collective film-making. Then came: Arising from the Surface (1980), two Fyodor Dostoevsky adaptations, an adaptation of Vinod Kumar Shukla’s novel and perhaps his purest articulation of minimalism (paying hommage to Bresson and Ozu), Burden (2000). I Am No Other (2002) and A Monkey’s Raincoat (2005) followed. Apart from filmmaking, Kaul also taught film classes at Harvard and he also devoted himself to writing – his collection of aphorisms about cinema The Director Reflects forms a brilliant echo with Bresson’s Notes on Cinematography – and to ceramics: in the late 1990s he worked at the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands, after which he organized an exhibition based on his own creations. At the time of his death in 2011, he was working on a film about Rossellini’s visit to India.


1969 A Day's Bread
1973 Duvidha
1976 Ghashiram Kotwal (co-direction)
1980 Arising from the Surface
1989 Before My Eyes (doc)
2000 Burden
2002 No Other
2005 A Monkey's Raincoat