People who live on the edge of the world know there are no borders, only love.
When we think of India’s international border with neighboring countries, what is the first thing that comes to our mind – Armed soldiers? Fences? Or maybe barbed wires?
But there is a lot which is unheard – stories spanning across themes of nostalgia, love, emotions, faith, livelihoods and fluid-identities.
Camera And Shorts, a National Award winning collective is working on a documentary film – ‘The Borderlands’ which is a collection of such stories. This documentary brings together human stories of borderland citizens from India’s borders with its seven neighbouring countries. The team is collaborating with filmmakers across borders to capture stories from both sides of the Indian border.
The Director :
Samarth Mahajan is directing this documentary. He is a graduate from IIT Kharagpur and the Young India Fellowship. He is a self-taught non-fiction filmmaker, passionate about telling stories from India that remain invisible to the mainstream. His entire filmography is available here, including the national award-winning The Unreserved.
Before “The Borderlands”, Samarth had directed three award-winning documentaries –
- The Unreserved
- Kazwa – A Million Lanterns
- Hum Le Ke Rahenge
Members of the team Borderland
Ashay (Co-Producer) :Ashay, founder of Camera And Shorts, has produced 10 more documentaries bagging 5 awards for Best Film and Best Cinematography from 26 Film Festival selections across the globe.
Nupur (Associate Director) :Nupur is a storyteller who loves exploring new cultures through local people. In 2017 she backpacked solo to 90+ locations across Asia. She co-directed a film where she hitchhiked from Ahmedabad to Kochi enquiring about lives of truck drivers.
Anadi (Editor) : An FTII graduate, Anadi’s first film as a producer-editor, ‘Mor Mann Ke Bharam’ won the Jury special prize at the 17th Mumbai Film Festival. His second film, ‘Ralang Road’ premiered at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Omkar (Cinematographer) :An Electrical Engineer by education, Omkar started pursuing Cinematography for the love of films. “The Unreserved” won a National Award and the short “Detour” won a Special Jury Prize at the 17th Mumbai Film Festival.
Why is it being Crowdfunded and where?
The documentary film market in India is nascent. In spite of consistently winning laurels, raising funds for a documentary of this scale through traditional methods is next to impossible in India. While dealing with a sensitive topic like borders, it is important that the money comes from sources without ulterior motives, so that the humane and unbiased nature of the film remains intact. That is why team is crowdfunding 25 lacs over 2 months in an all-or-nothing campaign on Wishberry: https://www.wishberry.in/campaign/the-borderlands
Current status of the Project
The team spent almost two years researching about unique stories along India’s borders. They started shooting in Punjab through self funding to understand the complexities of filming in borderlands. The team has created a two-year roadmap for the project, which includes a 3-part journey for shooting the film.
How the documentary borderlands will bring fresh Perspective to cinema?
In the stereotypical image of borders, we see only army-men and terrorists, often missing out the common people who inhabit these areas. The team’s aim is to capture this human side of life, beyond the general understanding of military and political relationships.
Team’s vision and mission.
The team believes, what unites human beings is far stronger than what sets them apart. They want to show how people and relationships are not as stereotypical as we often grow up to believe. The project will raise important questions about the idea of national identity and movement across borders and thus contribute to a more peaceful world by creating important conversations on cross-border relationships.