War, Human Connection & Community – Life At India’s Borders Told Through Film

War, Human Connection & Community – Life At India’s Borders Told Through Film
Samarth Mahajan

Camera and Shorts has been known to push boundaries with their film-making, with award-winning work such as The Unreserved and they don’t intend to disappoint with their new venture either. A trans-cultural project, The Borderlands aims to sensitise people to the lives of communities living on the boundaries of India. Often buried under media narratives of war and destruction, we’ve had a pretty set idea of what goes on the fringes of our national territory, the Camera and Shorts team is going to complicate that, changing the linear way we’ve talked about national and socio-political identities so far.

“India, with its huge cultural diversity, houses a demography that deserves to be noticed and inspiring stories that are waiting to be told,” says their website, and they go to great lengths to deliver this. The team made up of young, driven creatives isn’t afraid to rough it out. They’re traversing seven border areas to tell stories no one has told before, covering all possible grounds and collaborating with filmmakers from across the borders to create a complete picture. Though a daunting task, the team feels that it’s necessary.

“Every border is different, what happens in Punjab isn’t the same as Rajasthan or the India-Nepal border.The experiences are distinct and peculiar, and if we don’t explore all of them, the full story would be left unexplored,” says Samarth Mahajan, the director.

Source: Camera and Shorts

The desire to capture these lived realities came from Mahajan’s own childhood and upbringing in a village about 16 kilometres away from the Indo-Pak border as well as a conversation he had with a Kashmiri boy during a train journey while filming The Unreserved. Mahajan’s own experiences and the 10-minute conversation he had with the boy was enough to drive his need to break rigid notions that people have held onto regarding national identity. The team wanted to follow through with his idea immediately but had to wait while they figured out funding and other logistics.

Source: Camera and Shorts

With regards to the possible negativity towards the film, Mahajan says, “This isn’t an anarchist project, I’m not saying I hate the country or we need to have a borderless world. We just want more cross-border talks, softer borders, to make lives a little easier for those on the margins. As mainland citizens, it is quite easy for us to say that we want to wage war with another country, without having any idea of the effects on the lives of people on the borders. Often they have to up and move, completely uproot themselves under 6 hours during a conflict.”

This is an anthropological project, of lives, aspirations and struggles, and through film seeks to capture the magic of simple human conversation, one we can all definitely support. Plus, they have a range of rewards for backers depending on how much you contribute, from an invite to the film’s premiere to receiving special souvenirs from the areas they’ll be shooting in. The transparency of their production process is refreshing, the exact budget and how the funds will be used is up on their Wishberry campaign site, for all to see.

After the incredible The Unreserved, we can’t wait to see how this project pans out, and this is a team, and film, that deserves our support.

If you wish to contribute, you can do so on their Wishberry campaign page.

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