Young film-maker Sonam Singh has made a documentary film on the Kabir Kala Manch controversy

Cinema’s characteristic forte is its ability to capture and communicate the intimacies of the human mind,” Satyajit Ray once said. Young film-maker Sonam Singh believes in this implicitly, and she is trying to break down stereotypes, as she attempts to explore different subjects through her films and documentaries. A graduate from Miranda House, University of Delhi, Sonam studied Direction at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Her film The Forbidden Notes, was selected at an International Student Film Festival in Turkey recently.


The film is based on a real case that goes back in 2013, when Kabir Kala Manch, a Pune-based cultural group had been charged as being Naxalites by Mumbai High Court. This was when she was studying at FTII, and inspired by this she made a short documentary on the lives of the members and how those arrests affected them quite adversely.

“In the current socio-political scenario, the subject of the film holds a significant role where the dissenters are labelled as ‘anti nationals’. This documentary throws light on the idea of governance in India which has been in practice for years. The state has always tried to muffle the voices of the common citizen questioning the state’s failure,” she says.

Sonam describes herself as a passionate cinema buff, dreamer, writer and film-making enthusiast. For her cinema is a medium to produce a universal language of meaningful entertainment, and it’s always a priority to bring out the subjects that are silenced by the authorities.

“I was inspired after watching Jai Bhim Comrade by Anand Patwardhan. That was my window into realistic cinema. I made this film The Forbidden Notes as part of a college project. The film is not about who is right or wrong, but it simply narrates their side of the story,” she tells us.


Sonam has tried to bring out a human element, and get closer to the families of those involved in the case through the film. The plot revolves around two girls who fall in love with the two men involved, and their tryst to save them from the entire controversy.

“Student union of FTII has played a very instrumental role in the making of this film by providing me contacts of these people as they are living a grounded life after the arrests and avoid facing camera out of panic. I shot this film with almost zero police permission,” she adds.