Marking the 70th anniversary of the partition of the subcontinent into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the Godrej India Culture Lab presented a pop-up museum titled Remembering Partition: Museum of Memories — of the eponymous theme was held at Mumbai, through August 4 to 6.
Bangladeshi filmmaker, Tanvir Mokammel’s latest documentary Simantorekha (The Borderline) was screened as part of the event. The Bengali documentary, which is still in post-production phase, explores the impact of partition on both sides of the Bengal border.
Tanvir Mokammel shared his experience about making a film on the matter, “The 1947 Partition haunts me. I’ve heard so many stories from my parents about the Partition days. The year 2017, is the 70th anniversary of the Partition of 1947. So I thought this may be an appropriate time to look back at that tragic part of our common history.”
The documentary was shot in some of the main refugee camps in West Bengal — Cooper’s camp, Dhubulia camp, Ashokenagar camp, Bhadrakali camp. It was also shot in Dhandakaranya refugee settlement in Madhya Pradesh and in Chattisgarh, and also in the Andamans, where some refugees from East Bengal were resettled.
“The experience to shoot in those refugee camps was deeply saddening. Some refugees who are still languishing in those dilapidated and forlorn camps have been dubbed as ‘PL’ or ‘Permanent Liabilities’. Condition of these refugees, especially some hapless old women, is really miserable. They have become ‘Permanent Liabilities’ of humanity and their condition hurts my conscience,” the director added.
The 10 time National Film Award winning filmmaker also participated in an exclusive conversation on post-partition cinema along with the Dadasaheb Phalke recipient Shyam Benegal; Aseem Chhabra; the director of Sholay, Ramesh Sippy; and Govind Nihalani on August 6, as part of the event.
Divided into two sections — art and historical exhibitions curated across the Godrej One campus, and performances, panel discussions, film previews and screenings in the auditorium — it stitches together institutions such as the Partition Museum in Amritsar, the 1947 Partition Archive, and Indian Memory Project, among others, and individual artists, activists, and award-winning filmmakers from Pakistan and Bangladesh.