A Matter of Light
by Pankaj Butalia
Script: Pankaj Butalia
Cinematogapher: Ranjan Palit
Editor: Sameera Jain
Sound: Indrajit Neogi
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Kitu Gidwani, Subrat Dutta, Mandakini Goswami, Loveleen Tandan, Ikhlaque Khan, Srivardhan Trivedri, Mandeep Veena Mehta
Production: Vital Films (India), JBA Production (France), FNDC (India)
35 mm, Colour, 98 min
OV Hindu with French Subtitles
Critics' Week - Venise Film Festival 1999
Amiens Film Festival - 1999
Lajma works as a school teacher in Pakistan, she is in her forties and lives on her own. She was born just after the Partition and she grew up at her uncle's in India, in a house shared by her Hindu family and a Muslim family. She left India in the early 70ies. We are now in 1999 and she returns on the trail of her childhood and youth, trying to come to terms with a past that has continued to haunt her. Her story comes in flash backs : her mother sent to a mental asylum, her fight as an independent young woman...
The film questions identity problems, personal and collective, linked to Partition. Lajma faces her family and society, Gautam faces his homosexuality. How could some of the lesser known moments of the Partition help to throw light on the scenes of tragedy that have conti nued to haunt Indians and Pakistanis alike, for decades?