‘Padmavyuva’, directed by first-time filmmaker Raj Krishna, is a new mystery thriller provoking and shining a new outlook on the complex history of Hinduism. Fresh off of its world premiere as the opening night film at the 2020 International Indian Film Festival of Toronto (IIFFT), the film will be hitting the festival circuit this Fall 2020 starting with the North Carolina South and East Asian Hollywood Film Festival (NCISAFF) on September 12th followed by the HorrorHound Film Festival on September 18th and the Silicon Valley Asian Pacific Film Festival on October 2nd.
Speaking about the film, director Raj Krishna said: “My growing concern on the rise of right-wing fundamentalism under America’s new government spurred me to research the complex history of Hinduism in India. What I discovered was a strongly polarizing set of arguments across both sides of the aisle. Pro-Hindu and Anti-Hindu.”
“Exploring these arguments and their historical and archeological backings led me to realize that much of the establishing history of Hinduism is actually deeply disputed by today’s scholars. In going down this rabbit hole, I was lost in the shades of grey existing between the two version of the truth, finding it more and more difficult to classify the current events as good or bad. The more I studied, the more shocked and confused I found myself on the core issues; is religion good? What is its true history? Who is right – the political activists protesting against the religious right, or the religious right themselves, who claim to have done far more in the name of equality than anyone else? This film is my attempt to explore these issues and their ambiguity – shining a light on the history, mythology, and nuances of both sides of this argument, along with the dangers inherent in fundamentalist beliefs,” he added.
The film follows the dedicated and outspoken religious studies Professor Shaki Ramdas (Nikhil Prakash) as he is sitting in his university office one evening when he receives a mysterious phone call. An unidentified voice (Jaaved Jaaferi) tells him that a prominent journalist has gone missing, an obscure religious symbol left at the scene of disappearance. His interest piqued, Professor Ramdas follows up with the Detective on the case, Mark King (Ross Turner), who at first is skeptical of Professor Ramdas but grows to trust him and value his inputs.
Professor Ramdas works with Detective King and the unidentified voice on the telephone to decipher a series of religious puzzles, slowly uncovering a growing conspiracy designed to silence non- believers. But as the Professor digs in deeper, he finds himself descending the dark staircase of his own fractured psyche, beginning to question his own views on religion. As he deciphers the final puzzle and discovers the true villain, he will find his religious worldviews transformed – discovering a shocking, newfound purpose.