Kamal Swaroop’s Om-Dar-Ba-Dar, the cult movie from 1988 that everybody has heard of but few have seen, will finally be revealed to the world on 17 January. Director’s Rare, PVR Cinemas’ alternative cinema programming slot, will release the digitally-restored version of the avant-garde movie. Om-Dar-Ba-Dar, which never made it to cinemas in India, will open at PVR multiplexes in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune, says Shiladitya Bora, who heads Director’s Rare.
“It’s a great piece of news, especially since we’ve been seeing bad prints of the film for years, and we will now finally get to watch it on the big screen,” says Swaroop, currently involved with a film-based project on pioneering film-maker Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. “The release will give the movie a new life. It premiered at Berlin (the film festival) in 1988 and went to several festivals, but most people here saw it only on VHS,” says Bora.
Om-Dar-Ba-Dar’s restoration was funded by the National Film Development Corporation of India, which had produced the film in 1988 for Rs.10 lakh. The movie wallowed in obscurity until 2005, when it was screened at the experimental film festival Experimenta in Mumbai.
Set in Ajmer, Rajasthan, and starring Aditya Lakhia, Anita Kanwar, Lalit Tiwari and Gopi Desai, Om-Dar-Ba-Dar follows the picaresque adventures of a schoolboy named Om and his family members. The non-linear assembly of images and audio scraps from Hindi movie songs, radio jingles and advertisements combine to produce a one-of-its-kind cinematic experience, which will finally be up for view.