Kora Kagazz is scheduled to release on November 25, 2022. The epidemic of farmer suicides in India has hit young Sandhya Kamble’s family hard. Both her parents have fallen victim to crop failure due to genetically modified seeds, leaving fourteen-year-old Sandhya to live with her abusive uncle…in Mumbai. Despite her ability to cope with her past through a love of words and poetry instilled in her by her mother, Sandhya finally hits back at her uncle at the age of fourteen, landing her in a girls’ home until she comes of age eighteen. .
Meanwhile, Vivek Singh’s promise in life has declined sharply since the death of his father, Ashok Singh, a noted theater actor. Now in his early forties, Vivek struggles to come to terms with his demons: a failing marriage and an unfulfilled acting career.
In the juvenile reform home, directed by Warden Divya (mid-thirties), Sandhya is forced to confront her deeply emotional past through weekly drama therapy workshops. The sessions are led by Vivek, whose commitment to his job is lacking as he tries to maintain some semblance of an acting career. One of Vivek’s saving graces is his ability to use his performance training to help the children understand their emotional core. While doing this, he records everything for himself and the girls to watch and study on a computer during later sessions. Because none of the girls have ever worked with, let alone seen, a computer, this visual display of their behavior is both revealing and engaging for them. It gives the girls the opportunity to develop a critical life skill, the ability to criticize their behavior towards others.
Another aspect of Vivek’s therapy sessions is the playful discussion of nature and its delicate balance, be it organic gardening and insects, or focusing on the vital forces of life such as fire, water, air and earth. Vivek’s comedic approach to teaching personalizes the lessons for the girls, helping them understand that they can begin to take control of their lives and emotions while still living in the reform home.
Sandhya is perhaps the most challenging child Vivek has ever worked with. Although she does not easily assimilate into the group dynamic, it is clear that she observes and analyzes everything, sometimes to the point of making Vivek uncomfortable. As a result of her stubborn behavior, Sandhya is sent to work alone in the dusty old library, a dream come true for someone like herself. Eventually, she discovers the only diary on the shelves, a book with blank pages or a “KORA KAGAZZ (Blank Slate / Tabula Rasa).” Her new journal proves to be a catalyst for Sandhya’s ability to express her feelings, both positive and negative, as well as reconnecting with her talent for writing, though her newfound ability creates jealousy in her roommate, Anu (15), a defensive and aggressive girl with an equally troubled past. Sandhya is also challenged by the tough assortment of other children sentenced to the home for a wide variety of reasons, from committing crimes to being abandoned.
Divya comes under pressure to finish their annual fundraising night for the reform home, an event that is supposed to include the performance of a play, but due to Vivek’s own performance insecurities, the preparation of the play is delayed. Despite several disruptions, which include Anu and Sandhya’s escape from the reform home to visit the sea for the first time in their lives, Anu’s attempts to derail Sandhya’s close relationship with Vivek, and Divya’s suspicion that the relationship itself is inappropriate, Sandhya eventually able to derail Sandhya’s close relationship with Vivek. to use her rediscovered talent and love of writing to support Vivek and the therapy group by writing a collection piece on the celebration of life.
Ultimately, both Sandhya and Anu learn to forgive and embrace their troubled pasts, while Vivek is able to assess his own behavior differently. This allows him to finally reconnect with his estranged wife and son and develop a newfound faith in his ability to teach and help others. In the end, everyone gets a “KORA KAGAZZ (Blank Slate / Tabula Rasa)” with which they can begin a new phase in their lives.