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The Cloud Door

Cloud Door is a short film from 1994. Indo-German drama produced by the well-known Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul and featuring Hindu literary themes of erotica. The film was made by German director Regina Ziegler. The Cloud Door was included alongside other short films like Susan Seidelman’s The Dutch Master and Ken Russell’s The Insatiable Mrs. Kirsch, as a part of Ziegler Films’ compilation of short movies that are erotic known as Erotic Tales.

Mani Kaul used three literary sources for the story The first is The Sanskrit play Avimaraka which was written by Bhasa in the 5th-7th century. the Sufi epic love poem Padmavat written by Mohammed Jayasi in the 13th century and the romantic Indian stories Sukasaptati.

An Indian King is listening to an erotic parrot telling stories for his child. Furious, he decides to kill the bird. The princess intervenes and saves bird’s life by telling her dad that it doesn’t understand what it is saying. In gratitude, the bird flew to the lover of the princess and guides him into a maze leading to her private room. The lover and the princess are able to spend the night in love.

In the beginning of January 1995 The Cloud Door was presented for the first time to the public during The International Film Festival of India in Mumbai as part of the Erotic Tales program. Kaul was a well-known filmmaker known for his artful work has never before made the Indian Erotic film in spite of India’s long tradition of erotic folk literature and art. The film’s one-screen screening was met with controversy because of its erotic theme and nakedness on the screen. This caused the police to be brought in to control riots. ] A second screening, geared towards the media, was held later in a different location. Also, the film played in an event called the Munich Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar.

Reviewer Todd McCarty said the film has beautiful images, sensuality slowly building and unexpected humor that create an enthralling effects”. The critic for The New York Times stated that the film when viewed without subtitles and stripped of its cultural background from Muslim or Hindu literary works, “becomes a succession of vibrantly colored images that tell the story of a beautiful woman, possibly courtesan, an elongated, green parrot, who repeats the sexual phrases he’s gathered in her bedroom; possible lovers; and a fish that laughs. Another reviewer said it was The Cloud Door has plenty of sexually and funny images, and is an old-fashioned folk tale. Beautiful , perhaps however, it’s still nothing. Absolutely, the actors are gorgeous The costumes and sets are beautiful however, the plot is a bit stale and has very few memorable moments that make the film memorable.

Directed byMani Kaul
Written byMani Kaul (screenplay)
Bhasa (play Avimaraka)
Mohammed Jayasi (poem Padmavat)
Produced byRegina Ziegler
Lalitha Krishna
StarringAnu Agarwal
Murad Ali
Rohit Raj
CinematographyAnil Mehta
Edited byLalitha Krishna
Music byUstad Zia Fariddudin Dagar
Date of release28 September 1994 (New York Film Festival)
Time to run29 minutes


A clever parrot is a resident of an Hindu palace, which is surrounded by beautiful girls However, the bird escapes and is far away from the palace. When the new owner is asleep The bird convinces an untrained boy to unlock the cage’s door. In exchange the bird shows the boy an undiscovered way that leads to the palace.


Mani Kaul


Mani Kaul(script written by)

Bhasa(original story: ‘Avimaraka’)

Jayasi(original story: ‘Padmavat’)

Full Cast & Crew

Directed by

Mani Kaul

Writing Credits

Mani Kaul(script by)
Bhasa(original story”Avimaraka”) and
Jayasi(original story: ‘Padmavat’)

Cast (in credit in order) verified as complete

Anu AgarwalKurangi (as Anu Arya Aggarwal)
Murad AliRatnasen
Vasadeva Bhait
Yusuf Khurram
Irrfan Khan(as Irfan)
Bahauddin Dagar

Produced by

Ronald GrabeCommissioning Editor
Lalitha Krishnaproducer
Hartmut KohlerAssociate Producer
Judy Tossellassistant producer
Regina Zieglerexecutive producer

Music by

Fariduddin Dagar

Cinematography by

Anil Mehta

Film Editing by

Lalitha Krishna

Costume Design by

Bhanu Athaiya

Production Management

Gurudas PaiProduction manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Madhu Apsaraassistant director
Rudabah Nanporiaassistant director
Gurpal Singhassistant director

Sound Department

Vikram JoglekarSound

Camera and Electrical Department

Adinath Dasassistant camera
Lalitha Krishnastill photographer
Jogendranath Pandaassistant camera

Editorial Department

Ana Lockwoodassistant editor

Additional Crew

Ron HollowayCreative consultant
Murli NairProduction assistant


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