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God, this is Dolma

NIKHIL RAGHAVAN
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INTERVIEW Jim Sanjay talks about how he was inspired to make Dolma, a Tibetan short film

Twenty-two years ago, when Jim Sanjay visited Shimla, he came across several Tibetans who owned shops catering to tourists and locals alike. “I found something very intriguing about them. I tried to make friends, but they were too shy to open up. I would buy things from those shops just to be able to converse with them,” he says.

A while ago, Jim stumbled upon Tibetans again on his way to Coorg. He tried to talk to them, again in vain. By now it was quite clear to Jim that Tibetans do not mix around too much. But that only served to fuel his curiosity about them. “I started researching. I came to know about their belief in karma, reincarnation and enlightenment and their concept of God and worship.” So, Jim wrote A Letter to God which a year later was made into a short film titled Dolma directed and produced by him.

Dolma, a 17-minute short film was shot in the Tibetan Settlement Camp at Bylakuppe, 85 km from Mysore. All the actors and voices used in this film are Tibetans. The story is about Dolma (played by Deden) who wants to deliver a letter to God, who’s address she does not have. She approaches her family members for help. Her busy mother wants her to concentrate on her studies. Her grandfather advises her to be good before she can even think of sending a letter to God. Distracted by the letter, Dolma misses her school bus. So all day long she wonders what to do with the letter. She meets a priest, a pastor and a monk who also fail to give her God’s address. She breaks into tears. The rest of the movie is about whether Dolma manages to send her letter on its way.

Dolma has been shot in the Tibetan language with subtitles in Tamil and English. It was recently launched in Chennai with a screening for the Tibetan community here. Jim Sanjay plans to take it to other centres too.

NIKHIL RAGHAVAN

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