Kosh ba kosh

Bahtiyar Khudainazarov (Tajikistan)

Duration: 90 min

Years: 1993

Kosh ba kosh

April 24, 2020 - June 23, 2020

Kosh ba kosh — in the ancient dice game, it means "let’s replay." Ibrahim has lost all his property on the cards. The bandits who came to receive the debt have decided that the daughter of Ibrahim falls into the category of property.

Bahtiyar Khudainazarov

Kosh ba kosh. Addiction to the Fresh Air of Highlands

The beginning of Bahtiyar Khudainazarov’s creative path fell on a difficult period in the history of modern Tajikistan. The country was absorbed in pressing political events, everything else faded into the background and the current situation did not at all favor development of art, cinema in particular. However, the circumstances turned out to be crucial and Bahtiyar Khudainazarov’s cinema - so vivid and free - appeared exactly when it was supposed to appear.

About Director

Valerie Kim, CCA LAB participant

After the successful debut Bratan, in the fall of 1992 he started work on his second film Kosh ba Kosh. The сonditions improved: he was given an opportunity to move away from the monochrome image, use technicolor and utilize better equipment. Kosh ba kosh became the first film for the studio after a prolonged pause, the first film ofXudaynazarov after the collapse of the Soviet Union. «There was a hope that we would start making films again. Back then we were hoping that everything would be back to square one and we would work again - productively, successfully, for our own pleasure and the pleasure of our audience, » - recalls the director of photography, Georgiy Dzalayev.

In analogy to his first film Bratan, when working on Kosh ba Kosh, Xudaynazarov was influenced by his personal experience of a young man who grew up in Dushanbe and was familiar with the life of this city. The film was based on a love story of two young people against the background of the city of Dushanbe with its high mountains, narrow streets and cheerful residents. At the beginning of shooting no one could expect that a civil war would soon begin and how it would contribute to the development of the initial plot. Martial law was imposed in Tajikistan, followed by a curfew that covered several areas, including the capital. Filming process had to be adjusted to the new realities. There was a night shift shooting in the downtown right on the eve of the military storming of Dushanbe. According to Dzalayev, it was a miracle that the film crew managed not to get in trouble then: «We did not suspect that we were at the gunpoint of armed people. Apparently, even though it was dark, they figured out that it was just a film crew. It was unimaginable for them that while they were fighting there, someone was making a movie». Along with the production side of making the film, the screenplay had to be altered too: «It was a vital clue for us that we are living in new conditions, so we decided to transfer our heroes to these strange new conditions as well». Despite all attempts to maintain the pace of work, in November the shooting had to be suspended due to the increasing danger of ongoing events. The actors were evacuated to Moscow, and the team began to think about finding a suitable exterior in another more peaceful location. Director Bakhtiyar Xudaynazarov together with the director of photography and production designer traveled across the provincial regions of Tajikistan went to the Crimea, but couldn’t find a satisfying option.

Fortunately, upon returning to Dushanbe, the situation got better and this allowed them to continue work on the film Kosh ba Kosh. Georgy Dzalayev tells: «In a way all these circumstances turned us on, there was a certain audacity. Assistant directors had to go to the militants for negotiations. Sometimes they even helped in the filming, for example, they provided equipment that was necessary for some scenes». There was no strict scenario dictate when making the film. The enrichment of the plot, the addition of major and minor details naturally occurred on the set. Bakhtiyar always stayed open to any ideas and tried to include interesting events in the outline of the film. He kept waiting for some kind of clue from the outside world.

«Bakhtiyar was a multilaterally educated, intelligent person. He was a man of fine mental structure, vulnerable and sensitive. He wanted to be cool and impudent and at the same time it felt like he was always a little unhappy, insecure of his own intentions, » - recalls the director of photography and close friend of his Georgy Dzalaev. Xudaynazarov had great internal dynamics: he was constantly changing, never remained static. After a warm welcome to his debut, he was able to direct Kosh ba Kosh with more confidence, maturity. Despite the pragmatism, he was a spiritual person. Bakhtiyar believed in the timeliness of his cinema since life itself set the main leitmotif and shaped the story.

Full of the spirit of freedom and youth, the film Kosh ba Kosh resonates with the atmosphere of that époque, representing the combined experience of the team involved in its creation. The lead actor, Daler Majidov, sums up: «It was happiness - to be a part of the film made by your friend in the motherland.» There is no doubt his confession is sincere.