The Seventh Wish

- INDIA / 2014 / Urdu, Hindi, Maithili, Haryanvi / Color, B&W / Blu-ray / 27 min

Director, Photography, Editing: Varun Trikha
Sound: Shilpi Saluja, Radhika Fatania, Humaira Bilkis, Rachita Fogat
Source: Varun Trikha

Rekthi is a form of classical Urdu poetry, where men wrote as women, speaking of desire. Women write down their wishes in the place where spirits live, that bear witness to the universe’s cycle of human birth and death, and preserve the memories of the past, believing that they will come true. In a women’s shared space where they talk, dance, cry and love together, the director finds the “women’s space” sung of in Rekthi, and attempts to carry on a dialogue with the poetry across time.

[Director’s Statement] On the last day of the shoot when I turned my camera on, I had already decided to film from an incredibly great distance a fortress I had failed to understand. I could not bear the sight of that fortress anymore. I was convinced that it was hiding from me the answers I never found.

For two months I had watched several women writing letters to the invisible spirits in its caves, infested by hundreds of bats uncertainly fluttering hither and thither in crude darkness that haunted the suffocating candles and innumerable teary eyes. Little did those dolorous but hopeful women sticking their letters on the black brick walls of the caves know that instead of being cherished by the spirits, their letters were destined to go up in smoke when Surender arrived the next morning with his colleagues. These men are hired by the government to keep the premises clean. It was so unintelligent of me to think that I rescued many letters by regularly stealing them from the heaps of garbage hours before a pyre was set up for them. I wish I had asked myself then, once displaced, whom will these letters belong to?

But more importantly, now that I have decided to make these crushed, dusted and oiled letters silent refugees in my cupboard, who will rescue me from them? I despised the sight of that fortress.

- Varun Trikha

Varun Trikha is a freelance filmmaker based in New Delhi. Before getting trained in documentary filmmaking in Delhi, he was trained as an ethicist in London. He is currently directing a documentary film about Christian healing traditions in Goa. He is also researching for a documentary film about Seto community in an Estonian border village. He is the recipient of the “100 Friends” fellowship 2015 from the Estonian government. The Seventh Wish was Varun’s final film project at art school and has won two top awards including the best director award by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India at NSFA (National Students’ Film Awards) 2015. His other film At Khaala’s (2014) was broadcasted on Lok Sabha TV. Varun is a passionate traveler and has been lovingly making ikebana (traditional Japanese flower arrangements) in his free time for eight years now.