On a soul-searching journey

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Filmmaker Tagore Almeida who is of Goan origin has just released his first book, ‘The Emperor Cried’ inspired by his spiritual journey. He shares more with NT BUZZ

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

Although raised as a Catholic in Goa, Tagore Almeida was introduced to Hinduism in London where he was pursuing his higher studies. He then moved to Dubai for work where he began to learn and imbibe Islamic teachings.

And each of these religions gave him some great life lessons. “From Hinduism, I learned to see the presence of the creator in everything. In Islam, I learned to stop what I was doing and make time to spend with the God I worshipped, and in Christianity I learned to understand love,” he says.

However, recently, he has decided to give up on all religions. “I have come to the conclusion that the ‘emperor’ (God) is either a myth or people were selling a version of this ‘emperor’ to the world for their own benefit,” he says. In fact, he says, many told him that the way to find an intimate relationship with the ‘emperor’ was only via the book they followed. “How ridiculous was that?” asks Almeida. “Relationships are not made by following instructions and that too, of one kind. It is a journey felt from the heart, a pure passage between two souls. In my journey, independently and via these defined routes, I found out that this is not real, be it the existence of the ‘emperor’, or what is being told to us about him.”

But deciding that he wanted to live the rest of his life without God, after spending so much of his life seeking a God, was extremely emotional to come to terms with, he says.

“I spent months in depression and loneliness, not being able to come to terms with it, let alone express it to the world. Until one day, I did, and here we are now,” he says, referring to his first book ‘The Emperor Cried’, which was released on all leading platforms on February 28.

In a nutshell, he says, the book is about the fact that from the time we are born we are given beliefs and we spend an entire lifetime defending it, being vulnerable and often fearful of thinking outside of the box. “The book is a journey of an individual who one day stands up against the hypocrisy, not of just his fellow mankind but more importantly on that authenticity of the emperor who we are all made to believe is the creator of all,” he says.

But given that this was his first time writing a book, the process was quite stressful, he says. “When I write a film, I write a scene and already know how to put it out there in terms of execution. With the book, every word was the start and end of execution,” says the filmmaker who first set foot into the film world with his film ‘Alag’, produced by his friend Subi Samuel and directed by Ashu Trikha.

Since then he has produced six short films and directed six short films. Among them were ‘Uss Din’ with Rajkummar Rao, and ‘A God of Sinners’ with Shashank Arora, which went to many festivals including the Cannes Short Film Corner. And Almeida is glad that the film industry is now focusing more on real stories. “That’s the best thing that has ever happened to cinema, especially Indian cinema. We need to keep our stories alive, tell entertaining human stories that inspire humanity. Laugh, smile, cry but connect and then think,” he says, adding that the next short film in the works is ‘The Forgiveness’ with a well-known Bollywood actor.

Since December, he has also started podcasting which he has “fallen in love with because it gives me a chance to talk to everyday, amazing people”. One of his podcasts is called ‘A Pint of Imbecile Wisdom’ which talks about topics over a drink. Guests on the show have included Susmit Sen who founded the band ‘Indian Ocean’, and Ashu Trikha.

His other show ‘The Art Of Humanity’ focuses on sensitive issues like sexual and physical abuse, the LGBTQ living and the emotions of reconstructive plastic surgery. “I have completed one season of this. The second season will start in the last quarter of this year. In the meantime I am doing a mini-series focused on women,” he says. He is also hoping to pen a book on verse called ‘The Goan Who Sold

His Feni’.