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Lalit Rao

Mr. Lalit Rao is a film critic from Jaipur, India, FIPRESCI India member. He is currently writing a book on 25 best French films (1990-2015). Apart from ''World Cinema'', he is interested in chess, foreign languages, linguistics and philosophy. He is also the associate editor of the quarterly magazine "Cinematography Art". Mr. Lalit Rao has reported extensively on film festivals especially 'World Cinema' through more than 40 blogs and 8 videos channels. Cinema journal ‘Deep Focus’, and ‘Bangalore Film Society’ were represented by him as their correspondent in Paris for 2005-2006. He also presented a paper on Canadian cinema entitled ‘A brief overview of Francophone cinema in Québec’ during 20th International Conference on Canadian Studies, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, 27-29 February, 2004. Apart from writing 1000 reviews on IMDB, Mr. Lalit Rao has created KINEMA, a database with information on 25,000 films. His articles in French and English have appeared in Deep Focus, Kinoglaz, Objectif-Cinema, Sancho Does Asia and Séquences. Mr.Lalit Rao studied Master 2 at Université de Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris where he worked on ‘Distribution of Indian cinema’ in France. As a film critic, Mr. Lalit Rao has attended numerous film festivals in France and India.



Indian actor and director Akash Khurana’s third film ‘‘The River of love’’ celebrates the greatness of the river Ganges !!!!!

Indian academician, actor and director Akash Khurana’s third film ‘‘The River of love’’ celebrates the greatness of the river Ganges !!!!© Mr.Lalit Rao (FIPRESCI) dated 26.02.2022      

Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest Hindu festivals which is celebrated every three years. It's a pilgrimage that devotees take in the hope of washing away their sins of the past lives. The ‘Kumbh Mela’ is the largest of all human gatherings that takes place anywhere around the world. Millions of people assemble at the banks of the sacred river Ganges to take a dip in its holy waters and get rid of the cycle of birth and death.  However, Kumbh mela is simply more than a simple festival; it is an opportunity to find oneself. Its importance goes far beyond the human imagination. Worshippers and ordinary people look up to the event with the highest regards. During Kumbh Mela, they come to the Ganges in order to wash off their sins and get rid of any form of penance. This is precisely what happens in the lives of two protagonists ‘‘Raahi’’ and ‘‘Swara’’ in the film ‘The River of Love’ directed by Akash Khurana. It is his personal tribute to the holy Indian river Ganges and the Kumbh Mela.

‘The river of love’ begins with a lonely man ‘Raahi’ (traveler) who is found on the banks of the holy river Ganges. He seems to have lost his memory as a result of a tragic mishap. He is helped by a mysterious young girl ‘Swara’ (musical tone) who is also suffering due to a troubled past. Both of them  decide to embark on a spiritual journey in order to discover their true selves. How are they able to unravel some key mysteries associated with their lives is depicted in the later part of the film.

Despite its seemingly serious appearance, ‘The river of love’ boasts of many scenes of light nature. In one of the scenes ‘Raahi’ remarks to Swara that he doesn’t use a mobile phone as he doesn’t need it in his daily life. She replies that she uses it as one should ideally keep pace with modern times. There is also a funny interaction with a wandering ministrel who composes poems merely from the words which are given to him. He is quick to compose a witty poem about them by merging two words given to him.

‘The River of love’ is a perfect film for connoisseurs of images, spirituality and sound as it boasts of some excellent images shot in recent Indian cinema around the holy rivern Ganges. For this purpose, a team of four camera persons have handled its photography. Most of the dialogues are in the form of spiritual discourses carried out between its protagonists as they exchange key opinions about the meaning of god in a world strife with suffering and violence. While watching it, chance are that one is sure to get lost either in the by lanes of Kannauj, a town famous for its perfumes or in the holy city of Allahabad during the Maha Kumbh, a hindu spiritual fair.  

‘The River of Love’ is the third film directed by renowned actor and academician Mr. Akash Khurana, an important personality of Hindi cinema who began his acting career in the year 1981 with ‘Kalyug’ directed by Shyam Benegal. He has appeared in many critically acclaimed Hindi films belonging to both art and commercial genres namely ‘Ardh Satya’, ‘Party’, ‘Saaransh’, ‘Beta’, ‘Bombay’, ‘Saudagar’ etc. Akash Khurana  has also written some of the most important blockbusters of Hindi cinema such as ‘Aashiqui’ and ‘Baazigar’.

The ‘River of love’ is a film about people who are on a quest to find their true selves. It is a film for those who like its protagonists ‘Raahi’ and ‘Swara’ would like to find true meanings of their existences. The spiritual mood of the film is uplifted through mellifluous, hummable Qawallis (sufi devotional songs) which have been penned by Akash Khurana.

‘The river of love’ boasts of excellent performance by its lead players. Akash Khurana excels in his role as the mysterious ‘Raahi’, a man who has lost his bearings and doesn’t know what to do with his life. He is ably supported by lead actress Sheetal Menon who mesmerizes audiences in her role as the gentle ‘Swara’. ‘The River of love’ has been screened at over fifteen film festivals in the world. It has also been acquired by Jupiter Films for theatrical distribution in France. Lastly, ‘The River of Love’ is a film with universal appeal. It is meant for those viewers who are willing to get lost, regain composure and find one’s true selves.

The River of Love (2021)

Directed by : Akash Khurana.

Written by : Akash Khurana.

Cast : Akash Khurana : Raahi.

Sheetal Menon : Swara.

Debtosh Darjee : Mahakumbh Panda.

Romana Issar : Shehnaz.

Adhaar Khurana : Falak.

Imran Rasheed : Babban Miyan.

Sarang Satheye :  Mahakumbh Mystic.

Producer by : Akash Khurana and Pravesh Sippy.

Creative Producer : Kireet Khurana.

Music by : Indira Naik Menon and Arjun Nair.

Editing by : Udit Chandraul, Paramita Ghosh, Shivangi Mittal and Charu Shree Roy.

Associate Director :  Shivagi Mittal.

Sound Mixer : Boly Kumar Doloi.

Sound Director : Savitha Nambrath.

Editorial Department : Uday Javkar.





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About Lalit Rao

RAO Lalit

Mr. Lalit Rao (member-FIPRESCI) writes for this website on a regular basis as a film critic publishing reviews on his profile

In February 2017, he participated as jury member during  9th Bangalore International Film Festival 2017.

In 2014, he attended 19th International Film Festival of Kerala 2014 as a member of film critics’ jury.

As a film critic, Mr.Lalit Rao has attended film festivals in India as well as France namely International Film Festival of India (IFFI), International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Festival International de Films de Femmes de Créteil, Paris : Cinéma du Réel-Festival International de films documentaires, Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent? Saint-Denis, Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma de Patrimoine, Vincennes & Festival International des Cinémas d'Asie, Vesoul. 


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