Shujaat Saudagar's "The Underbug" honored at Slamdance Film Festival

Shujaat Saudagar's "The Underbug" honored at Slamdance Film Festival

“The Underbug” is an experimental film made during the first lockdown.


Mumbai: "The Underbug" is a Hindi feature film written and directed by Shujaat Saudagar, and produced by Vikesh Bhutani and Aman Mann (producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary “All That Breathes”). The film garnered tremendous recognition as it was awarded the prestigious 2023 Slamdance Breakouts Feature Grand Jury Prize.

The esteemed Slamdance Film Festival Awards ceremony took place on 21 January 2023, in Park City, Utah. The selection process involved a distinguished panel of jurors who screened the film at the award show and played a crucial role in determining the winners. 

“The Underbug” is an experimental film made during the first lockdown. “It is a psychological horror film where I wanted to explore the psyche of men who are turned into tools of hate. Men who live on the fringe of society, used, abused and weaponized by their political masters, by governments, by religious leaders to divide man by religion, by region, by colour. By altering the social fabric for the personal and political ambitions of a select few.” said the writer and director, Shujaat Saudagar.

Vikesh Bhutani, the producer of "The Underbug," expressed his thoughts, stating, "We got a great opportunity to take our film to an international platform and were overwhelmed by the heartwarming response. The themes may have stemmed from India but resonated with the many nationalities attending the film festival."

The director and writer of the film, Shujaat Saudagar took a moment to reflect on his creative journey, stating, "The Underbug was born out of troubled times, it was difficult coping with an unseen entity, the Pandemic, the coronavirus. A bunch of us came together during the peak of the pandemic to tell a story that we believed needed to be told. And momentarily the world united against this unknown enemy. And I wondered, is this what it takes to bring us together?"

In addition to its recognition at the Slamdance Film Festival, "The Underbug" received nominations at The Moscow Film Festival - Wild Nights, Toronto Lift Off Film Festival, and the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, further underscoring its acclaim and recognition.