The niece of actor and politician Raj Babbar and the daughter of film producer Kishan Babbar, 23 year old Kajri Babbar is gearing up to direct her very first full length British feature film with British producers Jacqui Miller, Craig Conway and Clare Cahill, adding sheen to her family legacy.
A period drama of 1940s, her next, The Burning Bride, revolves around the journey of a 15 teen year old Indian girl who marries a British officer and travels to England and her journey thereon. As a UK/India co-production, the film will be majorly shot in the city of Newcastle with key scenes in Mumbai , which are expected to commence shooting in mid 2019. The film will be written and directed by Kajri Babbar while Juuhi Babbar Sonii will turn first time co-producer on the project and will helm all production duties under Babbar Visuals for the shooting in India After her short film about a girl who sacrifices her morals to make ends meet, Pardaa, secured a semi-finalist spot at the 44th Student Academy Awards by Oscars and was screened BAFTA Affliated Aesthetica Film Festival last year, the director-writer is screening her film at the inaugural Newcastle International Film Festival.
This new festival is already very prestigious – the patron is Prince Michael of Kent and the President is Jacqui Miller Charlton MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Mrs Miller Charlton has built an international business brand over 3 decades which is now recognised as a global leader within its sector. She is a member of various initiatives aimed at raising aspirations and assisting start ups.
In addition she is a trustee on the board of Kielder Observatory as well as a board member of the Local Economic Partnership. While a formal announcement will be forthcoming in the next days, Burning Bride was launched on 1st April at the closing day of the Newcastle Film Festival. Kajri is excited to be working with UK producers Clare Cahill and Craig Conway to bring this film to the screen. Clare Cahill is an independent producer who is also a Senior Lecturer in Producing at the Arts University in Bournemouth and was one of Kajris’s teachers in the first year of her degree. Clare has worked on many British independent films and is working on a slate of her own films which are looking for distinctive and original voices.
Clare says, ‘I was very pleased to work with Kajri during her studies at the University, as she has a passion for storytelling and is already starting to develop a distinctive voice as a writer and director. When Kajri first pitched the idea for the film to me, at the end of her studies, I instantly recognised its potential as an important and unique story. I am looking forward to working with Kajri to develop the screenplay.’ Craig Conway is a actor, film producer and director of creativity of 54Films.
Craig has worked alongside some leading film producers and directors from Neil Marshall to Mike Leigh. His Credits include Dog Soldiers; The Descent; Doomsday and many more. His own recent film producing credits include Devil’s Playground; Four; The Ghost Writer and more recently The Estranged. He is currently preparing his directorial debut with the psychological thriller/horror Kruger set to film in Australia . Kajri quotes, “ I will be putting in close to 18 months of research since the film highlights the British standpoint post Indian got declared independent. 20% of the film will be shot in India while the remaining will be shot in UK.
The main lead will be a British actor while I’d like to have an Indian actress on board as a female lead.” Another coup in Kajri’s credentials, is that her graduation film Khoj, a story inspired by true life events, which highlights the growing issue of wife abandonment and dowry torture faced by more than 100 young girls every year in India has been officially selected for the Shorts Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival 2018 Kajri Babbar has been an active member of Ekjute Theatre Group for the past 13 years and has since performed as the main lead in many successful plays such as “Ji Jaisi Apki Marzi”, “Suman Aur Sana”. With a Masters diploma in Social Communication Media and a bachelor in journalism, she “wishes to use films as a medium to give a voice to issues that have been buried under the class and sex politics of the world”.
She will be completing her Masters in Film Directing at Arts University Bournemouth in the United Kingdom in June, for which she had also been granted a scholarship.In the past she has produced a documentary Babushka under documentary director Anna Saridi which takes a close look at Russian village community trough the portrait of women born in the USSR during the war.