Kaphal / Wild Berries

The film, which received the National Film Award for best children’s film, focuses on two boys from a remote Himalayan village, whose father comes home after many years away working in the city. Contrary to their expectations, he doesn’t bring them any gifts, and what’s more he begins applying rigorous discipline. The boys devise a plan how to get him back to the city. But things take a completely different direction than expected.

Trailer Kaphal with English subtitles.

2013 – 90 min – family
Directed by: Batul Mukhtiar
Cast: Hema Bisht, Ramkishan Choyal, Subrat Dutta
Language: Hindi
Subtitles: Czech, English
Format: BluRay

High mountains are not too common in Indian films. Bollywood and other major studios prefer the streets of big cities, while the states lying directly in the Himalayas produce only very little films. The setting is therefore one of many aspects that makes Kaphal so interesting – the story develops in a village high up in Uttarakhand, a place that fascinates with visual beauty, but which is not too friendly for life.

The film is aimed particularly at children and children are also its main protagonists, through its concept it is however strongly reminiscent of Turkish or Iranian films, which tend to combine children’s issues with broader social problems, thus also reaching to an adult audience.

The director Batul Mukhtiar leaves no doubt that life in a village in the Himalayas is quite different – and probably more complicated – than the lives of villagers in other parts of India. There are very little employment opportunities in the mountains, as the environment isn’t adapted for agriculture, which represents the livelihood for a very large section of Indians. The result are villages inhabited solely by women, children and old men, while men of working age are working in cities far away from their families. Visiting the family becomes then a rare comfort, as low wages in blue-collar jobs don’t enable trips home too often. Transport to the villages is ensured only by a few jeeps, cell-phone signal is not available, and going to school means going on a lengthy and strenuous hike.

Kaphal also shows how this directly interferes with relationships within families and how it especially leads to the alienation of children from their own fathers. The kids in the film even doubt whether the man who has entered their home after many years is actually their father, or if he is a malicious criminal, who is just pretending to be their dad.

The story is based on real people’s stories, which gives it even more authenticity. Despite the relatively heavy issues it addresses, the film remains pleasantly energetic and optimistic – as are its child protagonists.


The film has participated in the 15th Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), 18th International Children’s Film Festival India in Hyderabad, 37th Goteborg International Film Festival in Sweden, 9th Gorakhpur Film Festival, 54th Zlin International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Czech Republic, 9th Busan International Kids’ Film Festival in Korea, 61st National Film Festival in Delhi.


Golden Elephant for Best Director at the 18th International Children’s Film Festival India. Golden Lotus (Swarna Kamal) for Best Children’s Film, 61st National Film Awards India.

Author: Miroslav Libicher

About the director

Batul Mukhtiar was born in 1965 in Mumbai, India. She is a filmmaker, an alumnus of the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. Apart from several documentary shorts, she has directed a documentary feature 150 SECONDS AGO (in Bhuj) which travelled to many prestigious festivals across the world. In 2007, she directed a children’s feature film, LILKEE for the Children’s Film Society, India. KAPHAL-Wild Berries is her second children’s feature. Her interest is mainly fiction, but she has done a lot of documentary work as well, which in many ways influences her stories.

She writes shorts stories, film reviews and blogs regularly about books, films, and the world around her at batulm.wordpress.com