A Homegrown Sundance Winner That Juxtaposes Delhi’s Choking Birds & A Muslim Community In Peri

A Homegrown Sundance Winner That Juxtaposes Delhi’s Choking Birds & A Muslim Community In Peri
The Scroll

Year after year, we see news channels flashing ‘Poor air quality in Delhi’. With school shutdowns among other precautionary measures, the city grapples for clean air. However, there remain a few beings that are rendered helpless, left to deal with and overcome the lack of breathable air by themselves - these include the region’s birds and animals. How they are treated is also a reflection of the society we live in.

Shaunak Sen’s documentary All That Breathes bagged the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year. It tells a tale of two brothers, Nadeem and Saud, devoted to rescuing injured birds out of the basement of their family business’s establishment, with no formal training in doing so.

The cost of rescuing, aiding, and saving these birds comes from compromising on their social and financial well-being. The realisation that if they don’t help the creatures, no one will, runs deeply through their minds. Political flare-ups including the Citizenship Amendment Act, too, impact their daily lives as a Muslim family.

Sen’s vision places the lives of the family, as well as that of other Muslims, in juxtaposition to the nonchalance of the lives of the birds. Both their lives are threatened every day, yet, the birds may have someone to save them. The co-existence of societies across species holds far more similarities than differences, and for Nadeem and Saud, somehow, the tale of the birds resonates with theirs.

As the name All That Breathes draws from their late mother’s profound thought that all living creatures – all that breathes – must be respected, we see the parallel lives of trauma-stricken birds and a couple of humans trying to heal them, but it also holds the potential to be the other way around.

Find Shaunak Sen here.

If you enjoyed reading this, we suggest you also read:

Related Stories

No stories found.