Set in a garden in Southall, West London, the experimental film Saeculum revolves around the construction of a bird house by my father using scrap material during the lockdown of the 2020 pandemic. Simultaneously, I document this process through the use of clay. These practices become a portal for reflecting on a life’s work in the construction industry, the memories of establishing a new home in a foreign country and the unrealised common ground found between us through the practice of making. Funded by the Arts Council, England.
Empirical Sleepwalks (2018)
Produced by Mahenderpal Sorya, Narrated by Harish Sorya
Empirical Sleepwalks' (2019) is an experimental essay film which begins with a collage of what I describe as 'found memories' of a time before I was born. These memories revolve around the story of my Grandmother, who was part of a group that set up the first Hindu Temple in Southall, West London in 1978 in the same year as widespread National Front protests against the increasing Indian population in the area. Narrated by my Mother, Harish Sorya, much of this 'memory' is a composite of what I was told, film and photographic documentation, and the legacy of this period in Southall post 1978: a time marked by dramatic socio-political change and intense racism.
The film evolved over a long period of research in which hundreds of pieces of archive material (film, TV programmes, music, photography, objects) were sourced as well as interviews conducted with people who would have remembered the events of the late 70's. Much of this material I had already been exposed to as a child, my family ran a newsagent which rented out Indian films; film, music and TV serials were a big part of my cultural upbringing. The film aims to engage with the aesthetic of the time: through film, media coverage and imagery from personal archives. Other material is more contemporary and serves as a way of connecting the issues of the period to those being experienced today.
Exhibition Installation Shots:
Growing Pains Series (2018)
Growing Pains is a series of animations produced by manipulating film sequences and sound. Sequences were selected based on films and TV serials I remember watching as a young child, particularly those that I was affected by due to their intensity. The series distorts and reconfigures 'low tech' animation, fantasy and melodrama embraced by filmmakers, both in the East and West, in the 1970s and 80s. In The Battle, two battle scenes play out against each other; one from Sinbad and the other from a popular Indian TV series about the battles of a Hindu deity.
Analepsis (2020 - Present)
Currently in production, Analepsis is an experimental film that tells the story of a political dictator who is believed to be an incarnation of a Hindu deity. The film is inspired by a recent resurgence of interest in esoteric nazism of the 1940s and 50s particularly the myth, proposed by French Academic and Nazi mythologist Savitri Devi, that Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu. Devi became obsessed with Hitler and his interest in India and Indian philosophy. This led her to convert to Hinduism, change her name and spend years in India in search of the true homeland of 'Aryanism'. Documentary, film, fantasy, kitsch sci-fi, low tech animation and autobiography converge to create a film that plays with the idea of the 'epic' both in Indian consciousness but also in Hollywood commercial cinema.
The film is essayistic and draws mostly from archive material (film, TV programmes, music, photography, objects) as well as new footage and animation. Sourced material also includes imagery and recordings from alt-right websites and forums where members discuss esoteric theories that connect Hindu mythology with fascist ideology that have recently grown in popularity.