Mehdi Jahan


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Year : 2022
Language : English, Assamese
Duration : 4 minutes 22 seconds
Shooting Format : Digital
Genre : Experimental, Documentary

Crew :

Writer, Director, Producer, Camera, Edit, Sound  : Mehdi Jahan

Synopsis :

A couple is haunted by the traumatic memories of the blowout that occurred at the Baghjan Oil Field in the north-eastern state of Assam in India, which resulted in a devastating fire that kept burning for more than 5 months between May and November, 2020. Visions of death, large-scale evacuations, displacement, and massive environmental damage caused by the fire torment the couple who lost everything but a letter which reflects their despair and hope.


Screenings :
1. Ribalta Experimental Film Festival, International Competition, 2023. 


Director’s Statement:
The Baghjan Oil Blowout occurred in my home-state of Assam ( Tinsukia District ) in India on the 27th of May, 2020 and continued till 15th of November, 2020, resulting in massive fires, caused widespread ecological devastation, leading to large scale local evacuations, and environmental damage to the nearby Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (the only riverine island wildlife reserve globally, which is home to the endangered Gangetic Dolphin, herds of wild horses, and several other rare animals, birds, and fish ) and Maguri-Motapung Wetland. It is estimated that it would take nearly a decade to restore the entire area to the condition it was in prior to the blowout. The blowout was a result of several malpractices and irresponsible actions by the concerned authorities.

This incident, unfortunately, didn't receive much national and international attention, primarily since it occurred in a remote part of India with a history of receiving very limited space in mainstream media. In fact, there aren't many images of this event. A vast majority of the images are ones captured by the local people of the towns and villages near the site where the event occurred.

My film is an attempt to evoke the horrors of this catastrophic event using techniques of experimental cinema, to illustrate the importance of images produced locally which, much like oral storytelling techniques, offer a multitude of possibilities for interpretation and transformation through cinematic interventions and are not only essential in preserving local/micro histories but also serve as resistance against mainstream modes of audio-visual representation.