In an attempt to find her roots a young Guyanese-American chronicles her journeys in three continents as she attempts to ascertain her family's removal from their native India, during the British rule, to Guyana and her parent's subsequent migration from their birth country, Guyana.
Once More Removed: A Journey Back to India, a one-hour documentary film produced by Shundell Prasad is the result. The film was expected to be previewed yesterday at Albion in observance of Indian Arrival Day while today there is to be a private screening at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.
According to a press release Prasad's search takes the viewer from the vibrant Indo-Caribbean neighbourhoods in Queens, New York, "...to the sweltering hot sugarcane fields of Guyana, where men toil over the land as their forefathers did a century ago when they were brought to the cane fields..."
The journey continues from Guyana, where ship records are secured from the National Archives, to the ports of Calcutta, India, where the 19th Century East India Company ships carried human cargo out. From Calcutta, the filmmaker journeys into the land of her ancestors in Bihar, India, where massive crowds await the sight of a returned daughter.
Come May 12 the Bombay Theatre in Fresh Meadows, Queens, New York, will host the world premiere of the film. It has already been previewed at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas international conference in Hyderabad, India in January last on the invitation of the Indian Government. Prasad was a speaker at the conference.
Prasad is a graduate of a New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in film and television production. After graduation she worked with HBO documentaries before setting off to make her film. The 25-year-old has also worked for many major media outlets in the US.
Prasad was asked about her motivation behind making the film and she was quoted as saying; "I started researching this film while I was still in university, simply because I wanted to know why I looked Indian, but did not have any connections or ties with India. During the process, I became aware of the massive international India Diaspora, which is estimated to be well over 20 million people..."