This recently completed debut work evocatively conveys the routine life of a gentle middle-aged man, Chaudhry, a retired geography teacher residing in small village in Assam. In his youth he had dreams of traveling the world with his wife, but never had the time or the money. Now he spends his days cycling long distances to buy newspapers that he files for the youth of the village, remembering his dead wife taking care of his daughter and extended family of his dead brother. But being the patriarch of the family is not something that sits easily on him .His banal life turns upside down when his musician son comes for a visit and gifts him a pair of binoculars. The initial excitement of being able to see beyond what his old eyes could dream of gives way to the painful realization that the gift is a double edged; making him privy to secrets that trouble him. Freedom, emotional and physical eluded him all his life, is it too late to find it in the present?
The film observes its diverse characters with a placid objectivity and tellingly conveys the scenic beauty and the intrinsic life styles of Assam’s countryside.
I come from a remote village in Assam (North East India).
Coming from a remote village in Assam (Northeast India) and growing up before satellite TV, I knew nothing of World Cinema.
In Mumbai to explore my talents as an actor, I got exposed to the larger film universe. My interest veered towards filmmaking. A short film I made in 2009 was officially selected at the Chicago short film festival and boosted my morale.
One day at a friend's place, a binocular fascinated me. That his father living in a village previously owned it intrigued me further. Back in my village, an idea took seed and I began writing ‘The Man with the Binoculars’ (Antardrishti).
To me the binocular is a metaphor for the bitter reality of human loneliness, struggles, regrets, differences, our constant desire to control others and our surroundings, and our lack of perspective where small things perceived through the binocular of our consciousness makes it excessively large while we ignore the big right in front of us.
Chaudhury, addicted to his binoculars, like most of us, laments the many boats he has missed in life even as things around him break apart. Armed with a binocular, peering into nature, he struggles to bring his past into perspective even as the present of the poetic landscape around him watches him with impassioned eyes.
With little money, a tiny team, and crew and actors, the three years it has taken to make this film seem like an interesting and not easy journey. But then I remind myself that often that is what life is sometimes made of - fragments of an impossible reality.
Mumbai MAMI film Festival 2016 (official selection Indian Story)
Tallinn Black Nights Films Festival 2016 (First Feature Competiotion)