Baandhon, says its director Jahnu Barua, is a film about the common man, and how he is always the casualty in the crossfire between the government and terrorist groups

“We are common people. This world is too big for us. We have no choice but to have trust in it,” says an elderly man to his wife, while consoling her. This is a scene from Jahnu Barua’s film Baandhon. The film tells the story of an elderly couple in Guwahati, who lose their son and daughter-in-law in an accident. Their lives revolve around their grandson, a student in IIT Mumbai who goes missing after the 26/11 attacks. The couple comes to Mumbai in search of him, only to find out that he was one of the victims of the terror attacks.

It is always the common man who is caught in the crossfire between the government and terrorist groups. We read of accounts of families losing their loved ones in terror attacks, but to feel their pain needs deep understanding. Barua brings this to the fore in Baandhon, the Baandhon first Assamese film to be released across the country.

It is also the first Indian film on the 26/11 attacks—Ram Gopal Verma’s The Attacks of 26/11 came out later. “India makes the largest number of films. Unfortunately, no Indian film was made on the attacks. As an Indian director, I felt quite ashamed about this,” says Barua in a telephonic interview.

Barua, a Padma Shri awardee and a national and international award-winning director, was initially reluctant to make a film on 26/11. “I thought it would be a big budget film. But then I thought, why not make a simple film.” The premiere of Baandhon was held on the same day when Ajmal Kasab was hanged. “The second screening was held on the anniversary of 26/11,” Barua informs.

Barua is known for his sensitive portrayal of political and socio-economic issues. His films, be it Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara or Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai (The Catastrophe) and Xagoroloi Bohudoor (It’s a Long way to the Sea) in Assamese, place the individual within a larger socio-economic context.

His films are humane at its core. “I come from a small village in Assam. I have seen experiences of every kind of person and have seen their pain. Whatever you do, you must never discard human emotions. Over the years people have become scared to cry or express their emotions.”

Baandhon explores how the political system around the world is destroying humanity. “The world is changing so fast. It is becoming mechanical. And humanity is getting eroded.”

Even though parts of the film are set in Assam, Barua doesn’t agree with categorising films into mainstream and regional. “The theme of Baandhon is universal. Anyone can relate to the film, it doesn’t matter which language it is made in. Because films are categorized this way, people miss out on the best. There is also no urge to watch so-called regional films. This is a sad state of affairs.”

Baandhon will be released on Friday in select PVR theatres as part of PVR Director’s release.