A Brief conversation with Reema Borah director of movie Bokul
She has already made her mark in national and international domain through her short films and documentaries. Reema Borah’s work like Xihotor Katha, which was part of various national and international festivals. Similarly, her short feature ‘Echoes of Silence’ bagged the 55th national award for music. Feature length film Chaatak bagged the special mention at IDPA, 2010.
“My inclination towards cinema began when I was growing up. There’s a library near my house and I was a member of the library. That library introduced me to the world of literature and I started visualizing. Also, during those years DD had a slot for regional cinema at 1:30 pm on Sunday and I used to watch those films carefully. That’s how another window to cinema opened up for me. During those screenings, I noticed one common thread between most films – FTII. Most of the directors of those films were from FTII, and that itself inspired me to join the place. In fact, I wanted to join the place so much that it made me restless until I appeared for the entrance,” says Bora.
“Only after I got selected to FTII, did I understand that I stand nowhere; I have to study and watch CINEMA, in order to be able to translate my thoughts and ideas visually. The word ‘cinema’ had a great impact on me. Not only as a filmmaker, but even as a human being it changed my perspective. I developed a certain kind of sensibility to look at things around. I was deeply impressed by the works of Ritwik Ghatak, Istvan Szabo, Abbas Kiarostami, Andrei Tarkovsky, Yasujiro Ozu, Mani Kaul, Michelangelo Antonioni to name a few, as their films have had an immense impact on me. Above all FTII, its environment, the legendary ‘wisdom tree’ has been my biggest inspiration, not only in filmmaking but whatever I am today as a human being,” added Reema.
“Whatever I have made so far, are based on my personal experiences or the experiences of my friends. The socio-political and cultural scenario of our country, specially my state keeps motivating me. During my formative years in the 90s, Assam had gone through a lot of crisis. It had an impact on me. I started looking at things with a microscope. For example, if I talk about Bokul, it is my own journey in a way, kind of autobiographical. I came out of Assam for my higher studies in the year 2000. And after that, it was always a short term visit. But during my first pregnancy, I stayed at my home for more than a year. The changes that unfolded before my eyes were disturbing and unsettling. I started observing people around me and their stories. The fisherman, the rickshaw-puller, the unmarried single mother in ‘Bokul’ – are all people I know personally. While writing it, technically I like to go away from the traditional three act structure with a closed ending. I would like to think that a story can begin from anywhere and we can end it at any point – a point, which reflects our worldview,” says the director.
Your latest film ‘Bokul’ won tremendous critical acclaim and audience appraisal. How did ‘Bokul’ happen? “As I stated before, after I went back to Assam and spent some time, all these characters attracted my attention and the desire to spin a narrative around them grew stronger and stronger. I eventually spoke to some of my close collaborators whether it was possible to put our contacts together and find some resources to go and shoot the film within the next 3-4 months. Though apprehensive at the beginning, everyone eventually warmed up to the idea and it felt like one big adventure. We still needed some funds for the production, so I went to Facebook and launched a crowd funding campaign – and urged my friends and well-wishers to help me make my debut feature. Gradually, congratulations and good wishes started pouring in, and some cash too, which helped us cover most of the costs of the production. We eventually shot the film in January within 18 days, and started the post-production till we could generate enough funds to complete the film,” exult Reema.
Any new project of yours we can look forward to? “I am currently trying to raise funds for ‘Bisnu’, a philosophical sequel to ‘Bokul’. I am again resorting to crowdfunding, and this time, I don’t mind co-producers who would want to contribute around 20% of the budget of the film and be credited as ‘Co-producer’.