Horror - Development 2011

Set in the holy city of Varanasi in India, The Penance is a bold and shocking exploration of the deadly nature of family ties, as well as a startling genre experiment – the first genuinely Indian horror film.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Horror, Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Sidarth SRINIVASAN
    • Writer(s)
    • Sidarth SRINIVASAN
    • Producer(s)
    • Andy STARKE (Boum Productions), Pete TOMBS (Boum Productions), Sidarth SRINIVASAN (Reel Illusion Films)
    • Synopsis
    • IIn a sparsely furnished room in a large Indian city, a woman lies dying. Many years before, her husband had gone to pray at the nearby temple, never to return. He abandoned his wife and left behind two perplexed little children. The oldest child – a girl - grew up to become an outwardly self-assured individual, the sole breadwinner of the family. But in reality she was deeply troubled, seizing every opportunity she could to escape her drab life via loveless sexual encounters. In stark contrast, her shy and introverted brother was reduced to an existence of repressed servitude, incurred from year upon humiliating year of nursing his ailing mother.
      That night, the old woman knew she was close to death. She whispered to her son her final wish: to achieve Kashi Labh - to breathe her last in the city of Varanasi, the holiest of Indian pilgrimage sites, and be cremated there. Casting her ashes on the waters of the sacred river Ganges would absolve her of sin and remove her soul forever from the unrelenting cycle of death and rebirth.
      Mother and children made the long journey to Varanasi and took up lodging in a palatial but dilapidated hotel called Moksha Dham (Home of Salvation). It was an ancient guesthouse that afforded its patrons the morbid hospitality of checking in only to die. But rather than breathe her last, the woman suffered a vicious seizure and went into a coma. It was as if she had played a cruel joke at her children’s expense, locking herself up in a cavernous closet, thereby forcing the family’s most deeply buried skeletons to come tumbling out. The daughter was of the firm opinion that their mother needed the gentlest of nudges to push her over to the “other side”. But her younger brother would stop at nothing to see the glint of life in his mother’s eyes again. Even if it took him to the very edge of madness, embracing corruption and the most sinister of profane rituals.
      An epic struggle between flesh and fatalism ensues in the city of life and death. While an old woman languishes in eternal slumber, neither dead nor alive, her children will provoke past, present and future, life and death, body and soul, with catastrophic consequences…
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Dec 01, 2011