Published: 29th June 2021
Has COVID really changed us? How this Bengali filmmaker is trying to decode the answer to this question
Rishav's documentary will explore how the lives have changed for each strata of the society — gradually climbing up the steps of privilege
COVID has not only claimed millions of lives across the world, it has also destroyed life as we knew it — conversations are not complete without the mention of the disease at least once. The pandemic might have been a great leveller at times, but has it really affected every strata equally? Rishav Sahu's untitled documentary is set to try and uncover this rather harsh reality.
Rishav, a second-year PG student of Economics at Jadavpur University, starts his story from a crematorium in Kolkata. Dead bodies of COVID patients might come here every hour but the pandemic does not seem to have altered the lives of the marginalised people of the area much. "They know about the virus, the Chinese link and every other detail but you won't see most of them wearing a mask. Some of them even feel that the smoke from the crematorium is all-purifying. I have met crematorium staff who do not wear PPEs because it is too uncomfortable and there is no proper awareness about the disease among these people either," said Rishav who has spent several nights interacting and shooting in these dingy, dirty lanes.
Rishav's documentary will explore how people's lives have changed in each strata of society — gradually climbing up the stairs of privilege. "I am capturing how COVID has changed lives. The film will follow how families have dealt with the crisis and how it has changed them — families of the most marginalised, the middle class and even the privileged who are at the top of the societal pyramid," said the budding filmmaker. He has got his band together as well — young editors, sound designers, cinematographers and musicians from across the city have come together to make his documentary a reality. But there was one problem. A severe fund crunch. While Allegro TSW, a media production firm, has helped them by providing equipment free of cost, the young filmmaker has also started crowdfunding for this project.
Rishav does not just want to make a documentary filled with a lot of information but wants to create a visual account of how life has changed after the pandemic hit us. "Most of the documentary films in India are information-heavy. I want people to tell their stories, talk about what they felt and show their realities while documenting the times that changed the world forever," said Rishav, who expects his project to be completed by the end of the year.