Director Sarah McCarthy
DVcam
2010

The Sound of Music, with its imagery of mountains and edelweiss, may not seem like a natural fit for India’s Maximum City, but the Bombay Chamber Orchestra begs to differ. Recruiting kids from the slums – home to half the city’s population – the Orchestra sets out to stage a choral performance of the Rogers & Hammerstein score. At the center of the story is eleven-year-old Ashish, whose wide smile and optimism defy his family’s constricted slum shelter. He admits to lacking confidence as he copies out in his notebook “I will not be self-conscious.” His natural charisma suggests that he could go far if given the right opportunity. Now he’s tasked to perform a solo piece from The Sound of Music at Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, normally inaccessible to the poor. He can’t help but attach dreams to the event; he hopes to win the affections of an upper-class girl and inspire a patron to sponsor his education. With so many hopes riding on this single performance, the stakes are high for everyone, and viewers are pulled straight into the excitement. This was my second Documentary with Director Sarah Macarthy. We went out there on a whim without a budget and slummed it in Mumbai with the belief that we could find a story and make it work. The film Premiered at Toronto international Film Festival alongside works by Werner Herzog and Kim Loginotto. Although testing and Physically draining at times, no matter how grim it got, we were always entertained by Ashish. The entire film can be viewed on request.