Wednesday marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation of India. His great great grandson, Vidur Bharatram- an emerging film-maker and photographer, based in Portugal and India- visited Dhaka to attend the Dhaka International Film Festival earlier this year.
During his visit, in a conversation with the DhakaTribune Showtime’s Nazia Adnin, Vidur talks about his work, family heritage and many more
Tell us about your current work
Currently, I am writing a script for a TV show that I want to produce about Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy. Because of the work, I am conducting a few interviews of my grandmother, and her recollection of his life together when they were younger. Gandhi was my grandmother’s paternal grandfather;I have been documenting her life and memories. Hopefully, we will produce a four-part mini-series on her life, and how that connects with Gandhi.
Apart from that, as a wild-life photographer, my work is mostly focused on tigers. I spend a lot of time in tiger sanctuaries. That is my main profession- understanding the conservation and how tigers behave in the wilderness with other tigers.
How did you get involved with the Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF)?
Mr Ahmed Jamal, director of DIFF, invited me to come and check out the festival. We met at a film festival in Italy. Perhaps, when my film is ready, I will come here again with my film.
So are you planning to screen your documentary on Gandhi at the next DIFF?
Yeah, probably, if it is ready by that time.
There are many films on Gandhi, both fiction and documentaries. How realistically were his life and political views portrayed in those films?
I would say in most films, it was very true portrayal of him in a sense.
How would you portray him in your film?
I don’t want to portray his political views in my film; I would rather prefer to represent him as a family man from his family’s point of view, for which my grandmother is involved in it. We have seen what he has done, we know about his works as a political figure and father of the nation of India.
But not many people know or have seen a side of him as a family man- as a father or as a grandfather. I want to bring out that side of him, including what his lessons were for his grandchildren to carry on as his legacy.
Tell us briefly how you got involved with photography and film-making.
I got involved with photography at an early age due to my interest in wildlife. I picked up the camera when I used to visit various places with my family. At one point in my life, I also wanted to be a soccer player (hahaha).
You never wanted to be involved in politics?
I thought about it recently. But it was never my true calling, and is still not my calling. Politics in India is such a dirty game; I don’t know if I can survive that. I wanted to do something different with my life. After the independence of India, Gandhi wanted to emphasize on sustaining wildlife and to improve the relationship between humans and animals. That is the legacy of him I want to carry on. I want to convey that message of Gandhi to people because that is the path he chose before he was assassinated.
Tigers are at risk to be extinct from the face of the Earth. How will your films have an impact on helping to save the tigers?
The film itself won’t have a direct impact, but I would like the film to have an impact on the younger generation to make them understand why we are doing this. Tigers play a big role in our lives and the eco-system. Hopefully, the film will help them understand the next step to protect the tigers. I truly believe we need to save the tigers.