Tuni Chatterji’s lyrical documentary Okul Nodi (Endless River) is about Bhatiyali music, traditionally performed by the Majhis–people who row boats–of Bangladesh. Bhatyali songs are performed by the Majhi as they row downstream from one destination to another as a way of keeping time. The rowing of oars, the duration of songs, and the length of a roll of film all work in tandem to provide structure to this meandering and poetic film. The song lyrics are rife with references to both the Hindu and Muslim traditions, themes of love, and metaphors that equate rivers to the human experience. The geography of Bangladesh is dominated by flood plains and rivers. A source of life and, at times ecological devastation, the complex network of rivers is an essential part of the Bengali cultural imaginary. Okul Nodi was co-directed by Clay Dean.
Tuni Chatterji is a filmmaker and educator based in Los Angeles. She is currently a production manager in the Oral History Projects at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
SCREEN: Okul Nodi was organized by Nevin Kallepalli.