Co-Director: Alvina Joshi
his relationship with family and village, Mahendra decides to recommence his
art to protest against the demolition of his house. His lack of success in the
past and his family’s anger haunt him.
Rabha (65) always wanted to be a painter. So much so that when he was a child,
he would draw in the mud with a stick while the family’s cows would graze under
his watch. However, Mahendra was born and raised in Kherpujee, a remote village
made of 10 tribal families. There were no resources for him to become a
professional artist, nor did anyone have an interest in art. He could not
become an artist, nor did he pursue anything else. He could never earn and
satisfy his family, nor could he develop his art and satisfy himself. A big
spirit trapped in a small life.
These bitter feelings led to numerous fights in the family - with his son even running away to join a militant organization. Finally, Mahendra stopped painting.
His priority now is his two grandchildren. He spends every minute he can with them, while his son earns for the family, but cannot come home often due to his job. The dust has finally settled. Until, the government announces that Kherpujee will be demolished, because a highway is to be constructed in its place. Mahendra is shocked. He does not have the money to build a new house for his family. Any compensation the government gives, would have to be split between himself and his 7 siblings.
His son, who now works with the police force as a surrendered ex-militant, has decided to move away to a larger town, without Mahendra. This means that Mahendra will be separated from his grandchildren. Mahendra’s wife is furious, his grandson is upset, and his son still refuses to come home. Meanwhile, JCBs appear in the village. Excavation begins. Patches of green trees are replaced by the dead gray of concrete. The hammering and drilling noises become tortuous. Survey teams visit frequently, noting down what is to be demolished.
Mahendra sees only one way out of this situation - his art. He believes that if he turns the village into a piece of art, he can protest against the demolition. Even if it is unsuccessful, this will keep Mahendra going while everything around him is collapsing. To his family, this is the worst moment for him to restart his art. However, for the first time, he has found some support in his fellow villagers. Will Mahendra lose everything, but finally feel the satisfaction of being an artist?
Post engineering, I have studied sound design from the Film and Television Institute of India . This decision of mine is questioned by many family members and relatives except Mahendra, my uncle. His passion for painting has helped me to pursue filmmaking. The loss of my ancestral house and Mahendra’s present condition pains me deeply.
Multi Modal Logistics Hub project that is being undertaken in Assam is only the
first of thirty-five to be built all over the country. This film may articulate
my personal loss but thousands of such families will be evicted from their own
homes simultaneously. In the past, India witnessed many failed armed resistances
to save their lands - civil society, political parties and liberals have come
together to strengthen the painful fight of not giving away lands and the
result of such fights are hijacked by the gigantic media houses who serve the
interest of industrialists.
believe making this film is my only alternative to archive “the story of my
home”, just like my uncle Mahendra believes his paintings are his only
alternative. We are collecting the broken walls and stitching together an album
for many future Nibirs to judge.