As the year draws to an end, we tend to reflect on the good, the bad, the pain and the pleasure that bygone months have brought to us. With pain being the most prominent and shared emotion in the last two years, there have been several artistic efforts made to process and make sense of this pain and the grief that surrounded us.
In the wake of the ghastly second wave of COVID that hit India in early 2021, Delhi-based filmmaker, Mehr Singh, has created a poignant documentary of the mass ordeal that the country witnessed.
In a 21-minute documentary, Toofaan plays audio recordings from phone interviews conducted between the filmmaker and anonymous participants who lost their loved ones during the deadly second wave.
While hospitals ran out of beds and oxygen, mass burial grounds became the norm, one particular participant claims to have witnessed 125 dead bodies every single day during the peak.
Such horrific memories are juxtaposed as audio clippings which played alongside visuals of recuperating New Delhi which witnessed the full wrath of this second wave.
I knew I didn’t want this to be a film about myself or the room I was locked in while I had these conversations. To me, this was a film about the city and her collective trauma. So I waited till the lockdown was lifted and ventured out. As I explored my city in ways I never had before, I started admiring the resilience of our people. This ultimately, is what pushed me to create the piece.— Mehr Singh, filmmaker
The film is a sincere audio-visual montage of the pain, sacrifice, grief, and trauma that the country had to endure under the hands of disbelieving leaders and authorities whose lack of preparedness led the country to plummet to its darkest phase since the beginning of the pandemic.
The narrative explores the layers of human emotions and imparts a deep sense of empathy to the nation’s crumbling foundations, under siege by a deadly virus.
Mehr Singh’s Toofaan is now streaming on Mubi India. Click here to watch.
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