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This is Dolma

NIKHIL RAGHAVAN
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INTERVIEW Jim Sanjay talks about how his story ‘A Letter to God’ inspired him to make Dolma , a Tibetan short film

SHOWCASING A COMMUNITYLeft, a still from Dolma and Jim Sanjay
SHOWCASING A COMMUNITYLeft, a still from Dolma and Jim Sanjay

Twenty-two years ago, when Jim Sanjay used to visit 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,” says Jim.

A while ago, Jim stumbled upon Tibetans again on his way to Coorg. He tried to talk to them, in vain. By now it was quite clear to Jim that Tibetans do not mix around too much. “I became more interested in knowing about them and 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. She is disappointed and thinks about what to do with the letter the whole day. 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 she could finally deliver the letter.

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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