French filmmaker Cedrik Verdure & photographer Jean-Baptiste Poggi on their cinematic journey down River Yamuna
French journalist and film-maker Cedrik Verdure believes in following his heart. India has always been on my mind. So,when the time had come to make a film,I flew to this beautiful country in search of a story, says the 33-year-old. Verdure landed in Delhi in 2007 and was on the look-out for a subject when he came in contact with Vineet Narain of Braj Foundation in New Delhi and INTACH,and hit the jackpot. Everyone talks about Ganga,of protecting it,why not the Yamuna? Its an equally important river too, he says. Cedrik wrote a script,titled it Yamuna,Water,India,picked his camera and followed the river,through Allahabad,Vrindavan,Mathura,Varanasi,and en route captured the heart of India,the soul of the river and the many stories,mythology,philosophies flowing with it.
In town to screen this 26-minute feature along with a photo exhibition on India by three French photographers: Benjamin Bini,Jean-Baptiste Poggi,Vincent Le Vaguerese at the Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh,Verdure talks of the month-long journey that began in 2008. There are folks trying to save the earth,and then there are ecologists accusing those who are not. Were always talking of environment-related issues,and in the process have forgotten human beings. The idea behind Yamuna is two-pronged: to look at the human lives dependent on the river and the protection of the river in itself. Im not an ecologist. I am essentially a writer,and I am enthused and moved by stories that come my way, he says,talking of how his film even has a Bollywood dance routine in it.
Verdure is already working on a follow-up to the movie. It will take the audience through the origin of the river,the source in the Himalayas,and explores how such a river ended up being so polluted, says Verdure,who also runs a film production house back in Paris called Zelda Zonk Productions. His next film,incidentally,is about a love triangle between an Indian journalist and two English guys.
While the film will be screened at the Montreal and Singapore film festivals this year,in India it will premiere in Chandigarh on February 20 at Punjab Kala Bhawan,Sector 16. The exhibition will be open from February 19 till March 2 at Alliance Francaise.