By Prerna Siddharth:
“There are calumnies against which even innocence loses courage” — Napoleon Bonaparte
This quote presents its author in a very different light; shows a different side of the great conqueror. Does it not? It makes me wonder? Do we always end up becoming what we set out to become? I am not talking about our chosen career path, although if that happens then nothing like it. I talk here about the passions that drove us before we stepped into the real world, the inspirations that made us believe we could achieve anything if we wanted, the ability we had to observe the thin beauties hidden in our surroundings that very few had the eye to appreciate and that promise we made to ourselves, to not become one of those who didn’t have the eyes to see what we see. Have we, somewhere, lost all of it, bit by bit in today’s alarm-set-snooze-button life?
This question had haunted me for quite some time. Once it had sunk in, I saw it everywhere. My own father wanted to be a full time social worker, but ended up becoming a civil servant owing to the woes of his family. Probably this is the reason why he did not resist as much as he should have, when I told him I wanted to be a film maker. Keeping all the radical thoughts and right-fights aside, we all know that a middle class Indian girl expressing her passion for becoming a film maker is not a very well received and welcoming declaration. But I had the bug, ever since I was 5, if I remember right. Every person who cared deeply about me came to my rescue, all united, to lift the curse of my head and take me back to sanity. They did their best, I cannot take that away from them; but finally my parents saw my inability to de-bug myself and let me be, with their full support. But this mammoth response by my family to rid me of my passion made me realize what would have happened had I succumbed to their pressures. What my mind saw then opened my eyes to a whole new world. I saw so many people around me who had at one point of time succumbed! Hell, my career choice aside, I saw so much of myself I had left behind in those aged journals. That’s when I wrote the script of my dream film “UNTITLED”. No, it is not an untitled project, it’s a short film titled “UNTITLED”.
It is the story of a girl, who has so much beauty, so much energy and is so much in tune with nature, that futile as it may seem to the jaded and cynical world around, it is this connection that makes her so special, so inspired and so determined. She loves the smell of books, the feel of petals and the sound of trees (these are actual visuals from the films, not abstract thoughts). She is kind and determined, has great potential, we can see. But what happens to her, is probably what happened with all of us. The “worldly” get to her, give her their version of the reality and force her away from her light, away from her innocence. In my 10 years of film making, out of which, 7 years I travelled with “UNTITLED”, I worked with so many children from so many different communities and NGOs. I guess I inherited a social work bone from my father and mixed it with film making. My surroundings kept changing, so did my films and so did my little subjects, but one thing always remained constant;Â every child enforced that fact that we had left our innocence with our tiny shoes and did not have the time to regret it. This is what my film is all about. If it makes us at least acknowledge the fact that we have lost and not regretted the loss of our innocence, if it makes them take a step back to search for themselves, then I will consider it worthwhile.
To make this possible and to do justice to the story, we have started a crowd funding campaign in Indiegogo.com and with god’s grace, Raindance film festival has partnered with us to raise money for “UNTITLED”. I hope people relate to it as much as I did and we get the support we need to do justice to this project.
Find out more about the film here.