A newlywed couple find refuge in a small room in the center of New Delhi. Sanjay and Arti escaped from their families and from the network of social norms which condemn their love.

There to help them is Mr. Sachdev. He is an ex-journalist who now leads the Love Commandos, an activist group which helps young couples to escape persecution from India’s ancient tradition of prohibiting marriage outside one’s caste or religion. Even now with caste system having been legally abolished, young couples in mixed marriages continue to risk their lives. The Love Commandos offer safe refuge, legal support and organize secret weddings for couples known better as inseparable: the Lovebirds. The Love Commando’s shelter becomes a crossroads of stories, looks and voices of people that risk everything for love.

The entire narrative is supported by Mr. Sachdev and his struggle. The story starts with the arrival of Sanjay and Arti in New Delhi and follows closely their feelings. This young couple, guests of Love Commandos, leads the eye into the daily life of the shelter where new couples keep replacing the previous ones. Each problem Mr Sachdev has to tackle opens a new chapter on the lives of the lovers and different social issues. There is the lawsuit on Karunesh, accused of having kidnapped his wife, and therefore tortured by the police; and the brave Pyrianka, a Muslim woman married to a Hindu man, who lives in a secret place to escape her father death threats.

Director’s Note

India is becoming a global power and this film took us behind the scenes of this fast developing country and its traditions. What strongly emerged was a deeper understanding of the feelings and choices which made young lovers escapees and prisoners, repudiated by their parents, friends, villages and by society at large. Their stories interweave on many levels and are linked by the voice of Mr. Sachdev who dreams of a caste-free society only based on love.


Lovebirds – Reble lovers in India
Year 2012
Length 45 min
Genre documentary – Human interest/social issue

Director Gianpaolo Bigoli
Screenplay Mariachiara Illica Magrini
Cinematography Marco Gualazzini - Gianpaolo Bigoli
Editing Gianpaolo Bigoli
Original Soundtrack Mauro Crivelli

Production Mariachiara Illica Magrini; Gianpaolo Bigoli Wendy FilmPaolo Spada; Simona Bertoglio Insana Srl in collaborazione con Rai Tre
Distribution Doc & Film International

Sound Mariachiara Illica MagriniMarco GualazziniGianpaolo Bigoli
Pictures Marco Gualazzini
Assistant director Mariachiara Illica Magrini
Digital color grading Gianluca Palma

The song: “La forma del cuore” di Barbara Raimondi, Edizioni Dodicilune
Voice Barbara Raimondi; Guitar Roberto Taufic


Interpreter Pratishtha Kulshreshtha
Transaltions Megha Bhardwaj; Glen Michael Alessi


Lovebirds: Arti Kashyap, Karunesh Karan, Lokendra Singh Parhar, Priyanka Lottar, Sanjay Kateria
Love Commandos: Sanjoy Sachdev, Govinda, Harsh Malhotra, Rajesh, Sonu Rangi, Sunil Sagar
Lawyers: Neeraj Kumar Jha, Pradeep Chaudhary, Sanjay Kumar, Vinit Jain


Gianpaolo Bigoli

Born in Parma (Italy) in 1979, Communication Studies degree at Reggio Emilia University. Gianpaolo Bigoli attended Ermanno Olmi’s school “Ipotesi Cinema” in Bologna and worked together with Ermanno Olmi at some documentary-films. Since 2006 ha has been collaborating as author and director with several independent production companies in Italy.



«African Lullaby»
25 min, Burkina Faso, Prod. Wendy Film (In progress)


«Lovebirds – Rebel Lovers in India»
45 min, India, Prod. Wendy Film - Insana Srl in association with RaiTre (RaiDoc3)
Selected in Official Mid-length Competition IDFA 2012
Best Director Award Bangalore Short Film Festival 2014 (India)
Special Mention Ischia Film Festival
Special Mention Doc Exposure Trani Film Festival 2013
Selected in Official Mid-Length Competition Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival 2014


«L'uomo con l'albero d'Olivo» (The Man with the Olive-tree)
45 min, Nepal, Prod. Coppini Srl and Wendy Film
Special Award Trento Film Festival 2009


«Appunti sul Kivu» (Notes on Kivu)
30 min, Congo, Prod. Wendy Film

IDFA 2012 Competition for Mid-Lenght Documentary
Menzione Speciale Ischia Film Festival 2013
Best Director Bangalore Shorts Film Festival 2014
Bellaria Film Festival Anteprima Doc
Aljazeera International Documentary Festival
Human Doc Film Festival
Menzione Speciale Doc Exposure Trani Film Festival 2013
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