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Screening of Between Pudukottai and Singapore

“There is only a slight difference between love and life overseas

In love, we dream of things that don’t happen

In life overseas, even things that happen seem like a dream

In love, we dream of things that don’t happen

In life overseas, even things that happen seem like a dream”

Excerpt from “Pluses & minuses of life overseas”, NR2, 2015

Yesterday, IACT College hosted 2 filmmakers Vishal Daryanomel and Sharmeen/Sifar from Singapore who produced the short documentary, “Between Pudukottai and Singapore – Poems by N Rengarajan”. They were here to show their short documentary and interact with IACT students.

The screening was organized by Ms. Mien, industry lecturer in BA (Hons) Media, Culture and Communication for her students under the subject “The Making of Pop Culture”. “I want students to explore other functions of pop culture besides it being an entertainment. I want them to study if it is effective to effect change of policies, and how would it make people aware of certain issues in our society today? This short documentary serves as a perfect case study for my students.” Ms. Mien answered.

The short documentary tells of the story of N Rengararajan, a poet who is originally from Pudukkottai (India) and now works in Singapore’s construction sector. Featuring three of his poems which subtly elucidate the realities of migrant life, this documentary short also highlights pertinent issues such as employment processes, exorbitant agent fees, financial debt, and commonly held perceptions of migrant workers.

Vishal Daryanomel, the director of this documentary short shared, “The response we got from IACT College is the best we’ve got so far and we could see the enthusiasm. I’m glad that our work is relevant to them and the response just proved it. I also liked their observation on the simplicity of the film and recognize that we don’t want to glamorize the issue and make it seem like we’re trying to hide something.”

When asked what was the best question they got after the screening, Producer Sharmeen shared, “We liked that one of the students asked ‘What’s the point of you doing what you do?’ That’s very important because it’s always good to constantly question the art we do.”

The screening saw the attendance of 45 students from the Media, Culture and Communication degree program. One of the students, Simon Pravin shared, “This documentary short opened up my eyes to look at the issues with migrant workers and helped me know how they can be very talented, and it humbles me”. Another student Admad Aizat said, “I could see how poetry, an art from what is originally a product of the working class, continues to become a pop culture and being used today to translate thoughts into an emotional art form.”

“I’m glad that the film can make our viewers think because a film is not there to provide the answer, but to provide context for people to think about an issue and question the issue raised.” Vishal the director said.

vishal sharmeen between pudukottai and singapore

Vishal and Sharmeen (front row, centre) with Mien (4th from left) and the students who attended the screening