By Moumita Pal

In a country that’s constantly debating its perspective on tolerance versus political correctness, freedom of speech questioning freedom of expression, rat race beating purpose, I was just one of the many few who felt that in our need to romanticise patriotism, we have constantly been leaving behind the urgency to romanticise humanity and equality.

When the opportunity arose for me to be able to tell one of the very few stories I wrote, I threw that all aside to find the purpose of why I wanted to make a  films.

‘India – is both, the origin and the source’.

The journey to Tryst with Destiny began with my understanding of this very line, from my mentor.

As a young dancer, I was once playing ‘Bharat Mata’ in a musical and that character stayed with me for many many years. I wondered: if she spoke today, what would she say about the current paradoxes of our everyday life?

But this only could come together because of four very important people. Prashanti, my producer at The Gist, who allowed me to tread a path that was so curious. Secondly Karthik, who curated the music from scratch and did more justice to it than I would have imagined. And most importantly, Alex a.k.a Mayamma who plays Bharat Mata and Yumna, who became her voice.

The choice to cast Alex a.k.a Mayama was natural. I have known him very closely and I knew there was so much abundance in him as an artist. I wanted to explore the abundance that often stays hidden behind his drag-queen avatar. All my friends, who agreed to come together without any fees, played the 9 different emotions that we learn in Natyashastra.

It was a particularly tight shoot day and since it was intense, my actors put their full faith in me and created magic. This is exactly what the origin and the source signified to me: Bharat Mata, the origin and We, the source. And I eventually found what I had to beat. I wanted to break the singularity of each and merge it into one.

Samarth Upadhya, who was my DP, was also the editor of this short. How he did, what he did, only he knows! But I have loved every second of how he lit up and highlighted my actors, despite shooting in the rain.

If I could find a logline to this short film, I wouldn’t have found this new format of “prose poetry and free verse”. This short is my string of ironies of our everyday conditioning that chain us instead of freeing us.

If we devoid ourselves of all our prejudices in our own ways, each of us suffering. And you’d think that should be enough to unite us.

But no.

Thanks to our Tryst with Destiny,

the war we are fighting against each other,

instead of fighting for the same team.

Watch the short film here: