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A Passion That Broke Boundaries
Rahul Riji Nair is the writer, narrator and director of the documentary film 'The Human Boundaries', which tells the story of a group of Hindus from Pakistan who seek refuge in India | By Mukesh Venu
On Mar 06, 2012

 

Rahul Riji Nair is a Business Analyst with 'NeST,' a company in Technopark. Despite his busy life in the corporate world, the passion for a creative involvement remained dormant within. A few of his friends, sharing the same inner call, met together and decided they would do a documentary film on something relevant to society.

 

 

“None of us had any sort of background in films. There was no director, no cameraman and we ourselves were the producers,” says Rahul.

Yet when they were presented with an unusual topic that implored to be made into a story, the self-doubts failed to hold back their call of passion.

“In September 2011, 151 Hindus belonging to 28 families, came to India from Pakistan. They had arrived here on a one-month tourist visa. But they do not want to go back, on the grounds that it is terrible to be a Hindu in Pakistan. But the Indian Government doesn’t want them here since they are not Indian citizens and especially since they are from Pakistan. The Indian Government wants them deported at the earliest. But they refuse to go back to a fate, which they say is worse than death. But the matter is far from over. For now, they are sheltered at 'Baba Dehradunni' camp in Delhi. Theirs is a story that most of the world is unaware of, so we decided to go for it.”

"We did an extensive background study about the condition of minorities in Pakistan. In the process, we found in India Today Magazine in May 2011 that, the percentage of Hindus which was close to 15% at the time of partition has now come down to a mere 2%. This was because many had migrated, many more have been killed, and others have been forced to convert to survive".

 

 

But in the documentary these people say that "people are just the same in Pakistan as they are here. They were not ill treated by their neighbors or the public, but by certain sects of extremists.”

As the documentation process began, so did the hurdles, and they kept coming one after the other...

“Since this is a very sensitive issue, the people are being sheltered under close watch. It was virtually impossible to shoot a documentary in its proper manner. But after several attempts, we were given permission into the camp for three days, just three of us. And the notice was delivered at such short notice that we never had time to prepare or even think it over.”

In Delhi the next set of hurdles lay awaiting them...

“The people inside were too intimidated by us to come anywhere near. The few who did, never consented to be filmed and spoke broken Hindi, which made it all the more disheartening for us. On the first day we couldn't even shoot for one minute; such was their reluctance. It was near the end of the second day that they really began to warm up towards us. We decided to record as many things as we can and then sort it out later.”

By this time the documentary film had evolved into something deeply personal for Rahul and his friends.

“Seeing the pathetic conditions in which they were being sheltered was painful. Imagine having just one toilet for 151 people. They put up with extremely unhygienic conditions and all that they are asking is for  refugee status. But the government insists on their immediate deportation. Such is their plight that it was indeed sad to see so many suffering lives entangled in the game of politics. It was the motivation for us to complete this documentary with all honesty, directness and with no compromises.”

 

After their return  from Delhi, the 'last mile trouble' began with the team.

“First we had to conceive an idea, then to write a script with all the footage we had shot. We needed to edit it, add music and all this in the middle of a very busy professional schedule. But in the end, at the expense of hours of sleep, we finally managed to complete it within one month. I see that as the greatest achievement of all.”

 

However, politics is a dangerous game and religion more so; the Censor Board felt that the matter in 'The Human Boundaries' was rather too sensitive to be certified.

“That would have been sad, but by that time it didn't really matter. We had already started planning to release the movie online because it did not need any certification”.

 

Eventually, the Censor Board decided in their favor, awarding them with a clean 'V/U' certificate, citing the reasons of...

“...taking no sides during the entire 35 minutes of the film. All we did was talk to the people, filmed them and presented it as a documentary; there wasn't anything fake or extra added to it.”

 

 

Now that they had waded through the hardest part, applause and acclaims awaited them.

“Every one who saw it liked the documentary. We were approached by an American company 'Commodity Films' for distribution rights. The documentary has been screened at the prestigious Delhi University and at the International Human Rights Conference held in New Delhi. The greatest feeling was when people were surprised knowing that it was our first film and that we had no sort of film back ground whatsoever.”

Already, 'The Human Boundaries' is lined up for screening in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and in various parts of Kerala. The film has been much praised and applauded by some reputed names in the film industry. Also The Delhi High Court has issued a stay order on the immediate departation of the 28 Hindu families back to Pakistan.

The following of the inner urge is something that has always been mystically termed as destiny. In general, destiny remains a myth because responding to the inner urge is becoming something as lost as good films. But the team of Rahul Riji Nair and his bunch of 'tech' friends decided to take that ride once and what they met with in the end was 'The Human Boundaries'.

Rahul Nair says that the filming of the documentary changed his life and that of his friends. How many more lives can change if man responds to his inner urge?

 

 

 

Team Behind 'The Human Boundaries':

Rahul Riji Nair            :    Narration, Script, Direction

Baiju V Nath                 :    Graphics, Poster, Camera

Renjit Shekar, Sujith A:    Associate Directors

S G Anoop                      :    Editing

Sangeeth Koipaadu    :    Background Music

 
 
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