Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too,
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace...
These lines from John Lennon's song Imagine comes to Gautam Ghose' mind whenever he stands on the banks of Ichamati river in the border town of Taki and looks on both sides of the border. "There seems to be a seamless border. But when it comes to human emotions, it cannot be divided. It has remained the same for ages between both the countries... we are all Bengalis at heart and we will be. Personally, I feel happy that our emotions have been the same," says the National Award-winning director.
His new Indo-Bangladesh production, Shankhachil, is close to his heart because it deals with Partition. The event had a huge impact on the Bengalis. "Shankhachil is a metaphorical name. Shankhachil is a popular bird. A bird can move freely across boundaries. Poet Jibanananda Das has mentioned about Shankhachil several times in his works. However, it's strange how man cannot cross boundaries... how a line divides two countries, which are so similar in language, culture and civilisation," says Ghose who has directed films such as Padma Nadir Majhi, Paar, Gudia, Antarjali Jatra and Shunyo Awnko.
Partition had a huge impact on Ghose too. "I was born in Kolkata. But my family was based in Faridpur. During my school holidays, everybody used to visit their 'desher bari'. I didn't have a 'desher bari' because it was in East Pakistan. It still hurts me," recalls Ghose.
He reminisces the time he took his parents to Faridpur, Bangladesh, when he was shooting for Padma Nadir Majhi in 1993. It was also an Indo-Bangladesh production. "My father got so emotional that he was sick. Some of my relatives are still in Faridpur," he says.