Aas – an Uttarakhandi
The movie, “Aas” is a simpleton story of a Boy – Golu and his Goat – Sonu. His love for his goat is unconditional and pure. He spends almost all his time with Sonu, the goat.Taking along the goat to the pasture, to his school and playground and even for sleep is almost a daily routine of Golu, and he is very much used to it. But when his father trades Sonu for money, Golu’s heart is filled with sadness and longing for his beloved goat. Golu is now distressed & broken; he feels helpless as he is not able to avoid his goat being sold away. He becomes more aggrieved when he figures out that the goat has been sold for sacrificial purpose. With teary eyes he murmurs “Great Social Menace”!!!Sobbing Golu resolves to “steal the goat from the temple wherethe Bali (the practice of animal sacrifice) is planned.”Golu’s bestfriend Vicky alsojoins hands with him in this rescue mission. They are successful in stealing the goat, but now the biggest challenge is to look for a safe shelter – a place which is far away from the vigil of local villagers. They look for that coveted safe hiding place and after several hardships; they eventually find an old mill on the river bank. But they are not able to hide there for long, because of Harda,who finds them there and ask for the goat to be returned. Golu gives him some money, as he knows that’s what Harda need to keep the secret. As soon as Harda goes back, the kids change their hiding place, toa new shelter, an old and deserted house in an area away from the main village, which is not frequented by many.The kids stay, play and feed sonu in that deserted home and are content to be able to rescue their affectionate goat sonu. The story becomes more interesting with the entry of young plucky Prakash who brings a new angle to the story. Prakash had cometo that village to meet his girlfriend Neelma.Prakash and Neelma are around that deserted house, when the goat bleats, and they are pretty amused by it. They both start to search for the source and, Neelma finds the kids hiding along with the goat. As they get to know about the whole incident they plan to support and help the kids in there endeavour. But one morning Harda comes early at the hideout and takes the goat away and eventually sells the Goat to someone else. And when Golu and Vicky come, they are shocked and bewildered to find the goat missing. They wait for Prakash with some hope buthe has got no information about the missing goat. Meanwhile, Neelma reaches the spot and informs them aboutHarda taking the goat and selling it to someone. Now, they all start theirsearch for Sonu, the goat. Prakash is finally able to catch Harda and asks him about the Goat, but Harda defies them and doesn’t tell anything about the missing goat. But when Prakash offers him money, Harda tells him the name of the village where he sold the goat. They all reach there and searchfor their Goat in that village. They eventually also find it but Prakash stops them from picking up the goat and tells them that there is no point in picking the goat from there, because everyone will see them doing that, and will blame them forstealing the goat, which has been selected for Bali, and is being considered auspicious for village people and the local temple. Prakash somehow makes a plan and finally grabs Harda and convinces him to give the goat back. Harda is finally convinced and thus he brings back the goat and gives it back to Golu. “Aas” is a fictional plot which is very much the truth of most rural areas, where still in the name of religion and customs animal sacrifice is a reality. Animal sacrifice or Bali in the name of god is a malpractice prevalent in majority of rural India in some way or the other. Many might not appreciate this mal-practice and keep mum as they have accepted it to be an essential part of the socio-religious fabric. The two kids in the story fight the menace and are finally successful in saving their beloved goat. The dramatic twist and turns makes the story intriguing for the audience and the realistic performance enhances the overall appeal of the movie. This film essentially propagates the message that Bali pratha (animal sacrifice ritual) can be prohibited or abolished all together if people raise their voice against it. ABOUT THE MAKING This simple lucid film was shot in real locations to bring out the local ambience. The main base was a small village near Almora in Uttrakhand with abundant natural beauty all around. Limited logistics and apparatus never hindered the passion and zeal of the crew. On the contrary it inspired all to go a notch higher.