In the relentless pursuit of progress, communities often find themselves at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, where survival hinges upon adaptation or the risk of being left behind. Nowhere is this more evident than in the heart-wrenching tale depicted in Sarvnik Kaur's documentary, Against The Tide, which delves into the struggles of Mumbai's Koli fishing community as it grapples with the juggernaut of capitalism.
The Koli community, rooted in the heritage of the sea, finds itself in an existential conundrum as the once nurturing and benevolent ocean transforms into an ominous force, leaving its faithful children at its mercy. Rakesh and Ganesh, emblematic of the dichotomy at play, embody the tug-of-war between tradition and innovation, legacy and ambition. 'Rakesh and Ganesh have the sea in their veins,' the film narrates, painting a poignant picture of the inseparable bond between the two brothers and their shared affinity for the ocean. Rakesh, a traditional Koli fisherman, stands firm in his dedication to age-old fishing practices, casting his nets in the shallow waters, with his yields dwindling as the climate worsens. Ganesh, on the other hand, driven by ambition and the relentless push of progress, embraces technology-driven deep-sea fishing, aiming to transform the entire Koli fishing community.
As the film unfolds, the audience is plunged into the throes of the brothers' conflicting ideologies, exacerbated by the challenges of a changing climate and the relentless demands of capitalism. Ganesh's desperation to recoup losses leads him down a path that challenges the very essence of the Koli way of life, while Rakesh's steadfast commitment to tradition becomes a fervent defense of cultural heritage and environmental preservation.
Sarvnik Kaur, an accomplished filmmaker with a penchant for unraveling the complexities of seemingly mundane narratives, brings her adept storytelling to the fore once again with Against The Tide. Following her celebrated work A Ballad of Maladies, Kaur's Sundance-winner documentary masterfully weaves a tapestry of love, conflict, and the relentless forces of a world grappling with the unyielding impact of climate change and capitalist ambition.
As the documentary marks its South Asian premiere at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023, viewers are invited to embark on a profound journey, delving beneath the surface of familial bonds and societal shifts, while being reminded of the fragile coexistence between humankind and the natural world. Against The Tide serves as a poignant reminder of the unyielding spirit of communities caught in the currents of change; striving to preserve their legacy in a world that seems determined to wash it away.