Shiladitya Bora is the Director of Lord Bharoz, a film that explores the impact of faith and politics on the lives of two children growing up in India in the 1980s. The film follows Bhola and Shambhu, who are constantly challenged by their own beliefs, family values and social environment as they witness the upheaval and transformation of their country. Lord Bharoz is a film that describes the loss of innocence and the search for meaning in a complex and changing world. We discuss the challenges of making a film that challenges family, religious and cultural norms during a time of great upheaval.
Can you give us the background story of Lord Bharoz?
Shiladitya Bora: Bhagwan Bharose is the story of two young impressionable kids living in rural India in the late 1980s. This is the story of how various factors such as upbringing, traditional education, mass media and local community can influence a child’s psychology and how negligence and negative influence can lead to disastrous consequences. It describes the bittersweet and poignant coming of age of these two innocent children and their journey from blind faith to fanaticism and finally realizing its futility.
The story is very personal and intense. What real-life connections to this or similar events do you have? How have these experiences influenced the direction?
The first challenge is always to find the right story – something I am passionate about on a personal level, something that has the potential to facilitate dialogue between cultures and nations through cinema.
“…how… upbringing, traditional education, mass media and local community could affect the child’s psychology…”
Over the past few years, inter-communal violence and intolerance have been on the rise in various parts of the world, claiming thousands of innocent lives and creating an environment of fear and persecution. Something that has always intrigued me is what causes such intolerance, what makes a person become a fanatic.
So, when Sudhakar Neelmani, the writer of the film, narrated a few personal incidents on which the story of the film is based, I felt a deep sense of attachment towards it and decided to use it for my feature directorial debut. I have directed 3 short films before this film and when I look back I can see a pattern emerging. I realized that I like to tell stories that reflect important issues of the world, portraying them in a simplistic way, using everyday humor as a tool to keep the audience engaged until the end. The biggest fear I ever had was not making a pretentious movie that I personally wasn’t a fan of.
I don’t have first-hand experience with these kinds of social issues and violent crimes, but for the various character traits of the actors, I borrowed a lot from people I know and things I’ve observed over the years.