Hope Dies Last in War
INDIA / 2007 / English, Hindi, Bengali / Color, B&W / Video / 80 min
Director, Script, Producer: Supriyo Sen
Photography: Ranjan Palit
Editing: Saikat S. Ray
Sound: S. Subramanian
Production Company, Source: Perspective
The Third Indo-Pakistani War erupted in December 1971, and East Pakistan gained independence to form Bangladesh. Even now, more than thirty years after the war, some prisoners of war have not been repatriated, and their fate is unknown. While the governments of both countries deny the existence of such POWs, their families treasure old photographs of the soldiers that still portray them as youths, and wait for their return. Time flows endlessly as they turn to the afterimages of loved ones who can no longer touch them. A wife who parted with her husband after one and a half years of marriage, a daughter who lost her father when she was one year old, a younger brother who waits for his older brother even in old age . . . The love that flows from the screen is as great as the thirty years of emptiness.
[Director’s Statement] On December 5, 2004, I was accompanying Mrs. Damayanti Tambay, wife of Flt. Lt. Vijay Vasant Tambay, to Ambala cantonment, from where her husband took off for the last time on the same day thirty-three years earlier. During the journey back in the evening the lady was looking very nostalgic and pensive. To break the claustrophobic atmosphere inside the car I started asking about their courtship. Suddenly the whole atmosphere changed, and she started telling all the stories of the good days. Her eyes lit up, her face filled with happiness and joy. Then I asked her, “How can you wait alone for such a long time . . . ? Even Winnie Mandela did not have to wait so long for Nelson.” She replied, “It is the unconditional love for the person that drives me to walk such an endless journey.” At that particular moment I realized that I have to tell this love story to the world, a love that survived the time of war. Because I believe as long as love is there, hope is there, and hope dies last in war!
A journalist turned independent filmmaker, Supriyo Sen has produced and directed documentaries like Wait Until Death, Dream of Hanif, The Nest, and Way Back Home. He has received many awards including the BBC Audience Award at the Commonwealth Film Festival, the Golden Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival, funding from the Asian Network of Documentary (AND) at the Pusan International Film Festival, and multiple national awards. He has received grants from the Sundance Institute and the Jan Vrijman Fund for the production of his films. Supriyo’s most celebrated feature-length documentary Way Back Home, based on his parents’ journey to their lost homeland in Bangladesh after fifty years, is the first-ever documentary on these tragic events of India’s partition. The film was greatly admired by both critics and the general audience, and won numerous awards. It also traveled the world for a total of more than a hundred screenings. Sen is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Campus.