An Interview with Supriyo Sen (Director)
Individuals Are What Matters Most to Me
Q: What inspired you to make this film?
SS: The film I made some time ago called Way Back Home was about how India was divided. I felt that there were still unhealed wounds from the war in the 50’s when I visited a village in Bangladesh. Although the war is now just a thing of the past, it made me want to capture the story that started in that past and is still continuing now. I came to know about Mrs. Tambay, and the other people’s incidents through the newspaper when I was searching for what I could use for a film.
Q: This film covers two major topics; India and Pakistan’s political problems and the story about Mrs. Tambay who waits for her husband over a period of years.
SS: Of course political aspect is important. However, I wanted to show the dignified, forward-looking perspective of these wives. They live in difficult situations because of what has happened in the past but they choose not to raise their voices in uproar. Of course many of these wives have remarried or have been recommended to remarry. On the contrary, there were also some who waited patiently for their husbands’ return. My heart was greatly moved when I heard about them.
Q: I noticed that the TV playing in the background was showing a melodrama with soldiers in it. What did you want to convey by that?
SS: It is an Indian film. Not many, but some films that come out of Bollywood are patriotic and anti-Pakistani. The film that was playing in my work has a chauvinistic storyline, and manipulates certain information to play up the glory of patriotism. It’s a horrible film because of that. What was most important in my project was to accurately show the personal lives of each of my subjects, not to find out who is patriotic or not. That chauvinistic film is in complete opposition to my film. I put it in to be sarcastic.
Q: What are your thoughts about the tragedies that happened to the families in your film?
SS: Most countries are making efforts to create better understanding with their neighbors. Europe is very advanced in that. This is not the case in some countries. India, my home, and Pakistan have not progressed much in understanding each other. In fact, they are still fighting. I think it is crucial for countries to gain better understanding of each other. More importantly though, there needs to be more consideration on the level of the individual. I once heard a son of a soldier say that “even when the country has totally forgotten about the existence of my father, I, as his son, will never forget about my father.” The relationships between individuals are more important than the relationships between countries. Lives of human beings are more valuable than land or other things. We need to have that ingrained in our minds.
(Compiled by Mineo Kazunori)
Interviewers: Mineo Kazunori, Sasaki Yoko / Interpreter: Saito Shinko / Translator: Paul Mikaelsen
Photography: Nishioka Hiroko / Video: Nishioka Hiroko / 2007-10-07