Virtual Bharat

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Haldhar Nag The People’s Poet Gulzar

The heroes among us

Son of Sambalpur. Odisha’s pride. People’s Poet. Padma Shri. Haldhar Nag wears these labels lightly. He walks barefoot and free on the land of his ancestors. Leads his people with humility and grace. And wages battles against injustice with the only weapon he has ever had — his pen. 

Who could have imagined that a Class 3 dropout from a remote village in Odisha would one day teach the world universal lessons of humanity. Who could have imagined that in the darkness of poverty, he would find the light of eternal hope. That he would carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, as a poet and philosopher. No wonder his words resonated with his fellow wordsmith and admirer, Gulzar…

Haldhar Nag Short Film Poster By Virtual Bharat

Meeting of the maestros

When we first shared the unreleased film with Gulzar, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Would two poets who dream in two different tongues — Kosli and Urdu — find a common language of camaraderie? Would two cultural giants from two corners of the country write a new chapter in the history of Indian poetry? Breaking barriers of language, and economic and social access? The short answer is, yes.

Gulzar’s first response on seeing the film was to write a letter to Haldhar Nag, to celebrate his words, to celebrate his spirit. He immediately recognised that this was a man who walks barefoot in his village, only to leave his footprints across the globe. A man who writes only to share the universal truth. A local poet with a global voice… In his remote village of Ghens, known for its role in the Revolt of 1857, in the forgotten language of Kosli, Haldhar Nag turns poison into the nectar of life with his poetry.

And that’s not all…

Haldharnag Short Film Poster By Virtual Bharat

Shared words & wisdom

Gulzar invited Haldhar Nag to pen the very first poem in a volume of poetry edited and translated by him, and published by HarperCollins. Nag had the honour of writing the opening lines in the book, A Poem a Day, which featured 279 poets in 34 different languages of India. Gulzar and Haldhar Nag also stood shoulder to shoulder at the Jaipur Literature Festival later that year to release the book, marking an unexpected, poetic milestone in the journey of Virtual Bharat.

In this magical world of ours, some places start where the roads end. Some stories begin where the words dry up. And some poets like Haldhar Nag find their voice where the silence is deepest.


Created By:
Amal Sudhakaran
Researcher & Assistant Director:
Aditi Kumar
Line Producer:
Justin Jose
Prem Kumar
Abhijeet Deolekar
Ashish Zachariah
Sound Engineer:
Hrithik Sharma
Camera & Sound Assistant:
Prakash Bamne, Yash Khaire
Post Production Studio:
Open Mind
Production House:
Bharatbala Productions
For Studio Virtual Bharat
Mrinnalini Mitra
Lynette D’mello
Sayan Debnath
Shruti Mishra
Anshuman Shekhar
Akshay Parvatka
Yash Khaire
Prakash Bamne
Shrikkanth Govindarajan
Varsha Ramachandran
Kannan Rajaram
Ghanshyam Patil
Project Virtual Bharat:
Hari Krishnan
Jawahar Sharma
Abhijeet Deolekar
Special Thanks:
Sushanta Kumar Mishra
Hemanta Kumar Sahu
Shiba Sahu
Nala Mhaji
Bapi Behera
Ashok Kumar Pujhari
Bedabasya Sahu
Produced By Studio Virtual Bharat

Behind The Scenes