Pearl of the Desert (Maru ro Moti)
Director: Pushpendra Singh
Section: India Gold
Country: India, South Korea | Year: 2019
Language(s): Rajasthani | Time: 82 mins
Moti Khan, a musically gifted child from the lower caste Muslim Manganiyars of the Thar desert, is forced to sing and play music for their ancestral patrons in order to survive, even though he finds it humiliating. Sattar, his father, wants Moti to study and make a career outside music. But Moti aspires to be a successful singer so that he is treated respectfully. He leaves his village behind and sets out on a journey to discover his music.
Pushpendra Singh studied at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune—where he is now also a visiting faculty member—and at the 2011 Berlin Talent Campus. He began his career as an actor under theatre guru Barry John in Delhi, and played a lead role in Aadmi Ki Aurat Aur Anya Kahaniya (The Man’s Woman and Other Stories, 2009), a film that won a Special Mention in the Orizzonti section at the Venice International Film Festival. He also acted in Maximilian Linz’s German feature Ich will mich nicht künstlich aufregen (Asta Upset, 2014), which screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. His debut feature as a director Lajwanti (The Honour Keeper, 2014) premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. Ashwatthama (2017), his second feature, premiered at Busan International Film Festival in the New Currents section.