Memories of a Forgotten War National Award-winning film critic-turned-filmmaker is a forthcoming documentary film on a very relevant topic, the battles of the 1940’s in the North-East which seem to be now forgotten by most people. The film is produced by Subimal Bhattacharjee,an independent defence, cyber security and high end technology policy issues policy analyst based out of New Delhi and directed by Utpal Borpujari,National Award-winning film critic-turned-filmmaker whose films have been doing the festival circuit of late.
It is a universally known fact the World War II comprehensively changed the geopolitics of the world. Manipur and Nagaland in Northeastern region of India were important frontiers of the World War II in what was more popularly known as the Burma Front. It was in the rough terrain with dense forest in Manipur and Nagaland that the Allied Army and its Japanese counterpart fought the decisive battles that stopped the Japanese advance into India.
From India’s point of view, these battles were significant as apart from the fact that thousands of Indian soldiers were part of the Allied Army, the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose-led Indian National Army sought to fight against the British for India’s Independence by siding with the Japanese.
However, until the recent declaration by the National War Museum of Britain that the Battle of Kohima was the most important battle fought by the Allied Army during the World War II, ahead of even the Normandy landing and many other such much better-known battles, the battles of Manipur and Nagaland hardly attracted any attention.
This feature-length documentary film seeks to tell the tales of valor of those young soldiers and of the local peoples who participated or witnessed those battles, thus seeking to bring the stories of Manipur and Nagaland’s role in the World War II comes to the mainstream.
“The film’s core idea is to record the memories of these veterans and witnesses about the life-changing events that they saw happening in front of their eyes. The stories from the battles of the World War II are partly captured in books written by those who fought in those battles and survived, and partly in the memories of these men as well as in the memories of the locals who had fought alongside, worked as helpers to soldiers of either side, or simply witnessed the battles that were fought in their backyards though they themselves had nothing to do with it.
The survivors of these battles are all in their early to late 90s. Many of them now suffer from failing memories as well as various old-age ailments. Therefore, it is important to capture their memories as fast as possible, and through the memories of some of them, to tell the stories from the various important battles that were fought in Manipur and Nagaland.
The interviews with the various war veterans and the witnesses that have been used in this film are interspersed with depictions of how those very places that saw bloody battles look in today’s times. The journey between the past and the present has been done in a manner that recalls the history and make it relevant to today’s times, helping the viewer to understand how history of seven decades back is important for today’s times.
“We decided to make the film for two important reasons; one, it’s an important part of the history of Northeastern India that needed to be looked at from humanistic point of view before it faded away and too late, and two, that as someone hailing from the region, feel strongly about bringing out positive narratives from Northeastern India that is often in the news for the wrong reasons,” says its producer Subimal Bhattacharjee, who is globally acclaimed defence analyst and cyber security expert.
“The documentary aims at stories of bravery and valour of a generation of people in a factual and emotionally-connective way. It’s a film that deals with the subject not as a military one but as one that impacted the lives of many individuals in many ways,” says Utpal Borpujari, the director.
Check out the trailer of “Memories of a Forgotten War”-