Singapore International Film Festival chose Ivan Ayr’s second directorial Meel Patthar (Milestone) as the Best Asian Feature Film and the film’s male lead, Suvinder Vicky, won the Silver Screen Award for Best Performance at the festival.
It’s a story of a truck driver (played by Suvinder), who has driven the vehicle all his life and is asked to train a younger operator. Metaphorically, it tells you how far you’ve come and how much further you have to go… this milestone that connects the past, present and reflects the uncertainty of the future is symbolic of Suvinder’s journey.
The Chandigarh-based actor is elated to have won the award. As he recalls the beginning of Meel Pathar, he shares, “When I got the script and I met Ivan Ayr and film producer Kimsi Singh in Delhi, I expressed my concern of not knowing how to drive a truck. In the whole script Ghalib (name of his character) is driving and talking with the co-passenger and it seemed quite difficult at that time. But I took training and in 15 days I was confident about the role.” Vicky, as he likes to be called, says such roles are the duty and desire of every actor. “I have done a lot of commercial films like Kesari, Udta Punjab and many Punjabi films, too, but those films are for earning a living. Off-beat films like Meel Pathar satiate the real hunger of an actor.” He loves what he does, 19 years in the industry are testimonial to that, but this film is special to Vicky for more than one reason. He suggests we look at it from an actor’s perspective. “From the very beginning till the last shot of the film, Ghalib is in every frame… he maybe introducing other characters or through his story they are being introduced, the film grows through him and he grows in the film… he is always there.”
Such opportunities are rare and as challenging because there was no break whatsoever. “It was true from the very first day of the shoot till the last day of it I worked for this film without a break.”
To have received the award in person would have been a different experience but to get it virtually doesn’t dim the happiness. “I would have loved to be physically present there and all the other countries where this film has been screened but Covid took that away from me. Having said that, it is still hard to believe that I have won the award for best performer. It is a dream come true. I feel lucky that a decade or so of struggle and my work has been recognised internationally, something every artiste wishes for…”
While Meel Pathar is the milestone in Vicky’s career, the turning point will always be Chauthi Koot. A pass out of the theatre department, Panjab University, he had studied parallel cinema.
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