Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2011 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project CHAR… the island within
Category BIFF Supporters Fund
Project CHAR… the island within
Director Sourav SARANGI
Country India
Director's Profile After graduating from the Presidency College, Kolkata, Sourav Sarangi joined the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune specializing in editing. His debut film [Tusukatha] drew accolades from many leading international film festivals. Since then, he has edited, written, directed and produced both fiction and non-fictional films. He is currently involved in international co-productions as an independent producer and director. His recent award-winning work is an international co-production documentary titled [Bilal], featuring a three-year-old child growing up with blind parents in Kolkata. [Bilal] was presented at more than fifty international festivals and won nearly twenty top awards. He worked as the chief editor on an Indo-Italian co-production in Rome and Naples. Sourav has also worked extensively for private television channels in India as chief programming director.
Many moons ago, a deluge with fish and tortoises descended from heaven, and formed the River Ganga. Today the river acts as the international border between India and Bangladesh. Rubel, a fourteen-year-old child, lives on this border. When his family home was lost to erosion, they moved to a tiny and fragile island called Char. Despite the dangers involved, he smuggles rice to survive by crossing the border. In this ever-changing landscape, the winds blow strongly in the summer, the clouds roll and monsoon arrives. Some distance away stands a colossal dam, but this grand invention did not help Rubel; he lost his home to the hungry tides of the river goddess regardless. Rubel dreams of joining a school across the river. And of living on the mainland where cars run on gas and electric lamps burn that much brighter. I travel with Rubel to the cracking edge of the island. Will Char erode as well?
Director's Note
Everything is a subject, everyone is a character, but I can only film when it intrigues and confuses me like Char. Can a river be made a border between people? What happens when the river moves and the border does not? Where do the people go when the river erodes? The answer was Char, a no-man’s land, an island within the river. I was one forbidden visitor in this perilous borderland. And in Char I met some people whose lives have changed. Or am I a changed person coming from the mainland? The film was born in my mind in this ambivalence… in this twilight zone. And I realized that the elusive waters of Ganga held many stories. I was tempted and started shooting… for me this is the best way.
Still Cut