Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s personal documentary The World is Family, premiered at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) recently. Via the film, Patwardhan builds his family portrait through the lens of India's freedom struggle.
Supported by archival footage, family albums and interviews with his family members over the years, Patwardhan captures his family's links with the freedom movement and how they forged deep bonds with Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar and other stalwarts of the independence movement.
But the underlying theme of Patwardhan’s most personal documentary is the loss of lofty idealism and communal amity that the stalwarts of the freedom movement symbolised.
The World is Family is also his lament for the lost idealism of India’s freedom struggle and forgotten heroes such as the Sindhi leader Allah Baksh Soomro.
"Today’s India is not what Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar and Nehru envisioned and fought for," he said. “That history is being wiped today. Today’s India is not what it was. I have been saying this for years,” the filmmaker added.
“But also I am not saying that what we have lost cannot be recovered. It can be, but you have to make a start,” he said.
Patwardhan also became the second Indian after Baahubali director S.S. Rajamouli last year to speak at the Visionaries segment of the TIFF on Tuesday,
The TIFF introduction to his film says: “For decades, Anand Patwardhan has been a singular figure of independent documentary in India, giving inspiration to a flourishing of new directors today,”
The World is Family is the fourth film of the renowned Indian filmmaker to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival.