Memories are movies in real life. This is what I experienced when I made my short film ‘The Saint’ back in 2007 which features my late maternal grandmother. Just some months before she passed away, I spent some time with her, video taping her memories of her life’s journey.
She was going through an illness and would sometimes lose her memory but on that day she was fine and as my mom prompted her with questions, Naniji recounted many episodes while sharing some philosophical insights.
At first the footage was meant to be a family archive but some months later I was participating in online film platform Filmaka which was inviting short films based on the theme ‘Family Gathering’. That inspired me to recut the footage – which was over a couple of hours – into a three minute short.
In 2021, I revisited ‘The Saint’ after I saw Mati Diop’s short film ‘In My Room’ which is based on audio recordings of her late grandmother and is set to present day footage of Diop in lockdown in a Paris apartment. It just shows that memories resonate across cultures and translating them into a cinematic statement gives you the opportunity to be a witness.
‘The Saint’ is being showcased at the Bandra Film Festival x YouTube. Launched in February 2021 by FilmKaravan in association with YouTube, the Bandra Film Festival is a year-long initiative which is showcasing a selection of films from diverse film-makers which are being seen in a new light. Abhay Deol is the festival’s brand ambassador.
‘The Saint’ played from 13 September – 13 December 2021.