150 Seconds Ago
INDIA / 2002 / Gujarati, Hindi, English / ColorVideo / 112 min
Director, Editing: Batul Mukhtiar
Photography, Producer: Vivek Shah
Sound: Vinod S
Production Company, Source: Shoot Out Films
Challenger 1/1304, Thakur Village, Kandivali (East)Mumbai 400101 INDIA
The Gujarat earthquake in January 2001 devastated the ancient city of Bhuj in the Kutch district, killing 25,000 of the city’s 150,000 residents. The director and her cameraman husband visited the city repeatedly during a one-year period to document the recovery of the survivors: a rickshaw driver and his family, a former maharajah, a doctor, and many others. Despite having lost the basic necessities of life in the 150-second earthquake, people remain undaunted and humble. Their resilience in moving forward while coming to terms with the absurdity of the disaster is deeply moving. Camels, cows, dogs, and cats provide a touch of comic relief.
[Directors Statement] I visited Kutch for the first time two days after the earthquake in January 2001. The landscape of Kutch fascinated me: the people, their clothes, their faces, their smiles, their attitude toward life, their stoic resignation to fate, their unshaken belief that they would overcome all difficulties. All of these things earned my admiration. I wanted to know more, I wanted to experience more, and I thought that the experience of the earthquake didn’t end in 150 seconds, or a few days or a few months; that it would resonate for a long time. What interested me was not the heroic, not the extraordinary, but the mundane, the ordinary, in the face of a life-changing event.
We shot the film with a two-person crew on mini DV, struggling always to keep our approach exploratory, unfocused. Our aim was to experience and to share the experience with the viewer, not to “film.”
Graduated in 1994 from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, specializing in film direction. Worked as a researcher, production coordinator and associate producer with international documentary crews shooting in Mumbai. Directed two short fiction films as diploma projects for the Film Institute. Phobhabai was invited to the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival. Nazar Ka Dhokha was shown at the Vila Do Conde International Short Film Festival, the International Film Festival of India, the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival, and the Poitiers International School Film Festival. Produced and directed sixteen three-minute documentary films on DV for Eveo, located in California. 150 Seconds Ago is her first feature documentary.
• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2