Project Description

Written and Directed by Sidharth Srinivasan
Produced by Reel Illusion Films

Synopsis: TRAAS (THE PROFANE) is the fever-dream story of a family literally tearing itself apart, set against the hallucinatory backdrop of the city of Varanasi, most ancient of Indian pilgrimage sites.

A brother and sister take their ailing mother to Varanasi to fulfill her final wish of attaining Kashi Labh – dying in the holy city – thereby escaping the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

Almost immediately on arrival in Varanasi, an inexplicable event besets the children. As if possessed, their mother slumps into a deep state of limbo – neither asleep nor awake, she now hovers ominously between life and death.

This grave impasse exposes a deep conflict between brother and sister. The sister wants to honour her mother’s wishes and find a way of releasing her from suffering, even if it involves mercy killing. In dire contrast, her repressed and inhibited brother realizes that without his mother life has no purpose. He is willing to go to any lengths to retrieve her.

The siblings travel two divergent paths. The sister’s path is that of rationality and cold science and leads her into the comforting arms of a charlatan medicine man who sells his wares from a rundown clinic in a forgotten by-lane of the city. The medicine man offers her solace. And a pill with which to painlessly dispatch her mother.

Meanwhile, the brother’s path leads him towards the occult and finds him drawn into the underbelly of the ancient city. There, he comes into the orbit of an Aghori Sadhu who resides in the cremation grounds. The Aghori forces the brother to enter a Faustian pact with the unholy through a sinister ritual. The ritual, if performed correctly, will revive his sleeping mother.

Despite acting out of the noblest of intentions, the children’s actions are at cross-purposes – for dark magic prevails and carnage ensues. In a reflection of the eternal cycle of life and death, the narrative begins where it ends and ends where it begins – those who were condemned to die will return, and those who would have persevered will be consumed alive.

Traas is an attempt to create an edgy, haunting contemporary Indian fairy tale, derived from deeply rooted beliefs in the sanctity of the family unit, and the eternal struggle between life and death.

Official Selection, PiFAN, Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) 2012,
Winner of 2 Post-Production Grants

Official Selection, Open Doors Co-Production Market (Country in Focus: India)

Official Selection, Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) 2011