Khanaur (Gurvinder Singh) India

Khanaur (Bitter Chestnut)
Gurvinder Singh
India.  2019.  100 min

Seventeen-year-old Kishan, a good boy from a village in the Himalayas, helps his grandma and mother, listens to his father and earns some extra money working in a restaurant for tourists. But he feels the call of the big, wide world. He knows that moving to the big city is not without risks from the stories of prison and abuse he hears from returning friends. Kishan’s family try to talk him out of his plans. His father’s carpentry workshop offers a secure, albeit predictable, life.

Bitter Chestnut is an intimate, authentic coming-of-age story, thanks largely to working with local, non-professional actors. At the same time, the film depicts migration to the cities – an existential threat to traditional village communities. Despite the call of adventure, Kishan is still deeply rooted in his village, and this becomes ever clearer as the seasons slide by almost unnoticed.  His life is like the fruit of the bitter chestnut tree from the title; according to tradition, it has to be washed for seven days in succession before being edible.


Gurvinder Singh is an Indian film director. He is best known for his Punjabi language films Anhe Ghore Da Daan, and Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction) which premiered at Venice and Cannes Film Festival respectively.  Gurvinder is an alumnus of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune from where he studied film-making and graduated in 2001. He travelled extensively through Punjab between 2002 and 2006, living and traveling with folk itinerants, documenting folk ballads and oral narratives. It led to his first documentary ‘Pala’.  He continued to make short experimental works and documenting arts/artists for the next few years. In 2005 he was invited by avant-garde Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul to be his teaching assistant for a master-class at FTII,  which led to a close association with the filmmaker who became his mentor. He translated and published a book of conversations of Udayan Vajpeyi with Mani Kaul, titled ‘Uncloven Space’.  His latest film is ‘Infiltrator’ starring Veer Rajwant Singh which is a 15-minute short story in an international omnibus called ‘In the same garden’.




Gurvinder Singh :