INDIA / 2008 / Bengali / Color / Video / 88 min
Director, Photography, Editing, Sound, Producer: Sourav Sarangi
Production Company: Son et Lumière
Co-production Company: Millennium Film
Source: Sourav Sarangi
Amid the clamor of Kolkata, a three-year-old boy named Bilal lives in a small room with his younger brother and their blind parents. His rambunctious presence fills the home and the streets, and threatens to overflow the screen. Communicating with his parents through touch and verbal cues, Bilal is nurtured by his neighbors in the community. With a touch of nostalgia, the film follows the sightline of a child, where what is humdrum to adults is a vast universe to a boy. He becomes his parents’ eyes and the eyes of the camera as he leads us into “Bilal’s world,” humming with the bustle of the slums.
[Director’s Statement] I met Bilal in a hospital bed through my wife when he was just eight months old; he had fallen and had a severe brain injury.
I stood in silence and looked at the boy struggling for life, as his blind mother held him tight. Bilal looked at me for a very long time . . . and finally smiled. He touched his mother gently and that’s how she knew that I was there! I felt the magic of the touch and saw the eyes, those beautiful eyes of Bilal . . . ushering in love and hope in moments when darkness rules . . .
This film is a rough assembly of my moments with Bilal.
Born in 1964, Sarangi first studied geology but later entered the Film and Television Institute of India, a renowned film school, to study film editing. Currently he is involved in international co-productions as an independent producer and director. His documentaries and fiction films have won awards and accolades worldwide. He has also worked extensively at private television channels in India as a programming director. Generally he spends a long time observing and interacting with his characters to bring out their inner reality in a cinematic way that is minimalist and simple.