The Indian Cultural Forum is proud to present Anson A Athikalam's film Upavahana, a film on the Rohingya refugees.
Upavahana, which is Pali for "washing away", is a humble effort at narrating the story of the Rohingya refugees in 12 minutes. This is probably the first documentary fiction movie on the issue. Upavahana criticises the response of India and other nations like Bangladesh to the Rohingyan refugee crisis, but in a unique manner. The story of ants, symbolising the lives of the Rohingyan refugees, is recounted by a refugee mother to her daughter in India.-
N P Ashley
When huge spectacles and verbal battles saturate our public sphere and numb our senses, it points to an emptying out, an ethical vacancy and a moral collapse. At such moments, one goes back to stories, to asking the question: "why are we like this?". Anson and team, in Upavahini, asks certain questions about the "moral republic" that we will fail to be, if we push away the Rohingyan refugees for death by water in a piece that is so considerate, so gentle, and yet so haunting. The loud, noisy, unkind dismissals and accusations of the media, given at the end, delegitimise themselves against a beautiful story, deftly presented. The makers have shown a lot of sensitivity in limiting themselves by using the Rohingyan language and working with Rohingyan materials. This earnest search for something ethical also attempts a new kind of aesthetic!