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Border talk

Barnali Ray Shukla's new documentary questions the existence of India's borders bound by human limitations

"Borders are what are thrust upon you, limits are what you set for yourself," film-maker Barnali Ray Shukla tells us, when we ask her what her film, Liquid Borders is about.

Director Barnali Ray Shukla during a shoot for Liquid Borders
Director Barnali Ray Shukla during a shoot for Liquid Borders

"I had heard people say that we are our own best friends and worst enemies. Over a period of time I decided to take this journey to discover this for myself. Borders are made of water, which makes them fluid, inclusive and accessible to neighbours. The same adjectives interpreted in the political jargon means, menace of porosity, infiltration and threat to security," she adds.

The 39-minute film, shot over five months, looks at three sides of the Indian border — Indo-Tibet / China border at Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, Indo-Sri Lankan border at Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu and the Indo-Bangladesh border at Taki, West Bengal. It includes interviews with locals, journalists and bloggers. It also briefly looks at the locking down of the India Bangladesh border on Dassera owing to it being one of the most porous borders today.

A still from the film Liquid Borders
A still from the film Liquid Borders

"Earlier, sweets and greetings would be exchanged between both sides on the festival as it is celebrated equally in both countries. That has all stopped now," says Shukla.

"The film is a metamorphic look at many aspects using visual storytelling. For instance, it is commonly known that extensive cattle smuggling exists in Taki. While our documentary is not about that, it is difficult to ignore it when while shooting there. So, we have spoken to people who have seen it happen and seen the authorities turn a blind eye to it. One is always reading about how Indian fishermen are caught in Sri Lanka and vice versa. I have always thought that the fish don't really care, so why do we?" she concludes.

The film will air alongside film-maker Sandhya Kumar's documentary, Memory of a Light which looks at what makes the experience of the first home unforgettable – the structure and design of the house or the things that cannot be measured, yet make impressions on the senses.

On March 11, 6.30 pm,
At Little Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call 22824567

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