Bhalchandra (90) and Kalindi Morje (83), lovingly known as Appa Ajoba and Kaku Ajji, are the oldest surviving members of the Morje family that settled in the coastal town of Vengurla in the 19th century. In an attempt to re-imagine and chronicle their lived histories along the Konkan coast of western India, the filmmaker, who also happens to be their grand niece, stumbles upon Appa’s handwritten account of his early life and times and a family tree she can’t find her name in.
To add to the golden, crumbling sheets of these lucidly written memories are Ajji’s witty narrations of cuisine, tradition and culture. As Ajji tells her more about how the family lived and ate, the filmmaker begins to find its resonance in stories her beloved deceased grandfather once told her about sea, sand and food. And within these blurry childhood memories of her maternal family and Vengurla, simmer questions of origin, belonging and home.
As she begins to makes sense of Appa’s nostalgia and Ajji’s recollections of childhood, migration and change, the filmmaker unearths the ancestral history of a chatkor (one-fourth) of her multi caste, regional and linguistic self. She negotiates with her experience of placelessness, only to find home in the familiar sizzle of fried bangra (mackerel), the warmth of pungent triphala spice and the balmy lusciousness of golden Alphonsos.
Producer: School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (A fellowship film supported via the Jamsetji Tata Trust).
Selected Festivals and Screenings: Imagine India Film Festival, Madrid, Spain (2015), Food Film Fest, Bergamo, Italy (2015), ‘Camera and I’: Personal Documentaries, Films Division, Mumbai, India (2015), Cut.In Film Festival, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India (2015); VIBGYOR International Film Festival, Kerala (Thrissur) India (2015)
Credits: Ajay Noronha (Camera), Suresh Rajamani (Sound Recording),Shweta Ghosh (Script, Direction & Edit), Unny (Sound Design and Mixing), Ajay Noronha (Colour Correction and Grading)
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