Panning in on Divar

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‘Xim’, Divar’s story of boundaries beyond boundaries, a new documentary by Brijesh Kakodker and John Lino is all set for its virtual premiere on August 29.
NT BUZZ learns more

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

The island of Divar is known for its greenery and the sense of peace that it exudes in one’s being. There is a certain enchanting quality to it that one can’t help but fall under its spell. Filmmaker Brijesh Kakodker was similarly bewitched. “Divar has always been fascinating to me. There is something about the island that I always loved,” he says.

And two years ago, Kakodker paid a visit to the island during its unique Bonderam celebrations in August and came away with the firm resolve to make a documentary around the island and its Bonderam festival.

Similarly, around three years ago, filmmaker John Lino, who is part of the Piedade Youth Association which organises the festival, was also approached by Kevin Do Rego to make a film around it. “I love hunting for stories and since I was born and brought up in Divar, I have been hearing stories from old about Bonderam,” he says. Hence, when Kakodker contacted the Association with a plan of making a film, the duo decided to collaborate on the making of it. Titled ‘Xim’, the film will be launched online on August 29 on the Facebook page and YouTube channel of the Association. Given that the pandemic has also made the organising of the festival impossible this year, by having the film out on the same day as the intended date of the Bonderam, it will also be a chance for fans to be a part of the celebration through the film.

But the film is about much more than Bonderam and how it has changed over the years. “Even though Divar is a small island on the face of this earth, if you go and spend time on the island you will see that it has much to offer in terms of rich cultural heritage and history. Spending time on the island and listening to all these stories was just amazing,” says Kakodker, adding that a lot of archives were examined and re-enactments carried out to showcase certain topics.

Among the new things that he learned was how the island was formed after the early settlers reclaimed the land from the sea. “How they did this is explained in the documentary,” he says, adding that they chose to make a documentary rather than a feature film as they wanted to keep it as authentic as possible. “With feature films there is a lot of cinematic liberty. You mould things in a way to make it more entertaining and dramatic which we didn’t want to do in this particular case. Our focus was to keep it as story-driven as possible,” he says.

In fact, all this presented them with a unique challenge as they discovered that they had acquired a huge bank of data. “We had to then meticulously go through all of this and set a proper flow to the story,” says Kakodker. The final cut of the film spans roughly
about 35 minutes.

And the duo is appreciative of all the support they received from everyone involved in the film. “We were encouraged and welcomed by every person whom we interviewed,” says Lino.

Based on the response they get, the duo is hoping to later to send it to film festivals and take Goa and Goan festivals to the world audience. “This film is straight from the heart. It’s a film by every Divadkar,”
says Lino.

 (‘Xim’ will premiere live on August 29, 7 p.m. on the Piedade Youth Association
Facebook Page and YouTube channel)