A Little Poland in India – First Indo-Polish co-production premiered
A Little Poland in India, the first Indo-Polish co-production documentary was premiered in New Delhi on 7th November. Directed by Anu Radha and Sumit Osmand Shaw, this is the first film that has been co-produced between the governments of India and Poland under the Audio-Visual agreement between both countries. And the co-producers are Doordarshan (National Broacasting Network), Government of Gujarat, NInA (National Audiovisual Institute) and TVP (Telewizja Polska).
The film is a heart-warming story of the rich historical bond between India and Poland. The 52 minutes film is the true and captivating story of the then Jam Saheb (Ruler) Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja of Nawanagar, nephew of famous Indian cricketer Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of the Jadeja clan, a princely state in the Kathiawar Peninsula, off the land of Gujarat, in India – where human compassion is customary since generations.
During World War II, about 1000 Polish children from war-torn, occupied Poland and Soviet prison camps in Stalin’s Siberia, travelled all the way to India, where Jam Sahib took personal risks to make arrangements at a time when the world was at war and India was struggling for its Independence. He built a camp for them in a place called Balachadi beside his summer palace, 25 km from his capital city Jamnagar, and made them feel at home.
“A Little Poland in India shares a rich historical connect between India and Poland – across boundaries and continents. A kind and compassionate gesture of Jam Saheb Digvijaysinghji, that stands on its own strength from the past, thus enabling India and Poland to forge a rich cultural partnership in the present and, paving a way for many more such endeavours in the future,” shared Mr. Tripurari Sharan, Director General, Doordarshan (Prasar Bharti).
The film begins with the journey of the lead protagonist Mr Wieslaw Stypula, a Balachadi survivor, now 80 years old, who travels all the way from Warsaw to Jamnagar and Balachadi in Gujarat (India). He comes back to the land and the soil which is (as he states) “where I belong.” Back in Warsaw, other survivors relate the heart-warming stories of their childhoods spent in Balachadi.
“A Little Poland in India is a great educational tool which will popularize the mutual history of both the countries and I am glad that Doordarshan and Government of Gujarat have collaborated with their Polish counterparts in bringing this story to life,” said Ms. Anna Tryc-Bromley, Director, Polish Institute, New Delhi.
The documentary film is a rare glimpse into the lives of five of the “Survivors of Balachadi” as they proudly call themselves. Settled now in Warsaw (Poland), these aged survivors relate unique heart- warming stories of their “home” in Jamnagar and Balachadi under the umbrella of Bapu’s (father- as they fondly called Jam Saheb) love and compassionate protection where they spent four precious years (1942-46) of their childhoods and changed their lives forever – memories of which still bring smiles on their wrinkled faces and shine to their tired eyes.
[box_info]Note – A Little Poland in India will be officially telecast on 10th November (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM) and on the 11th November (7:30 AM – 8:30 AM) on DD National and will thereafter open the inaugural ‘Kinoteka Polish Film Festival’ on 18th November at India Habitat Centre.[/box_info]