A documentary on the Yamuna is a story of a personal journey as much as it is about the river.
At the screening of Take Me to the River,at the India International Centre on Wednesday,we caught up with filmmaker Chitvan Gill.
Why did you want to make this documentary?
I grew up in the Northeast,along the banks of the Brahmaputra. I had seen beautiful lakes and water bodies and envisaged Yamuna to be the same. But when I arrived in Delhi more than two decades ago,I realised it was a myth. So,I decided to film my journey to the river. This film tells the story of the river and its people,those who have seen the river over the years.
How would you compare the Yamuna of mythology and its current state?
Legend has it that Yama,the god of death,the brother of Yamuna,wouldnt touch those who had a swim in its waters. People living on the banks believe in those notions and the river was sacred to them. But over the years,people have turned their backs on the river. Poor governance has led to it being treated like a nala (drain).
What did you find about the people currently living on the river banks?
I came across a lot of people who had interesting stories to tell. Even if they had their share of challenges,they continue to live in those slums. Their love,rituals and beliefs tie them to the river.
How did you choose the title Take me to the river?
While listening to various musicians for the film,I came across Lou Reeds song called Teach the gifted children which has the refrain take me to the river. It was an instant connection. It tied well with my personal journey to the river.I have also used the song in the closing credits of the film.
Do you plan to hold screenings in other cities as well?
We are planning to screen it in many different places and events in the future,but as of now,nothing has been finalised.
The reporter is an EXIMS student