Filmmaker Kabir Naik decided to base his latest documentary film, Khanvtem, on the khazans – Goa's resourceful wetlands. These lands, reclaimed from the river centuries ago by our ancestors, for the purpose of agriculture and allied activities, such as aquaculture, play a vital role in Goa’s biodiversity.
These khazans were marked out through the building of sluice gates, dykes and canals, an intricate yet, at the same time, simple system, regulating salinity in the water flow and following tidal patterns.
Khanvtem, in Konkani, means breach. Often there’s a breach in khazans – to the sluice gates, bunds or embankments and canals, which causes the water to enter into the fields thereby damaging crops, says Kabir.
Pointing out how there’s a breach in the khazans system, and a lot of other eco-systems, due to human negligence which is affecting the environment, he explains how the title for such an important subject came about.
WHY A FILM ON GOA'S KHAZANS
“We wanted to highlight how this breach affects everyone concerned. We have covered the khazans comprehensively in our documentary, interviewing scholars on the subject and stakeholders,” says Kabir.
It took over a year for the completion of this film. Perhaps, the greatest challenge while making this 36-minute documentary was finding farmers still using the khazan system recalls Kabir.
"There is a lot of misinformation about this ecologically-friendly system. Many know what khazans are, but they don’t know it at a deeper level of understanding, which is not allowing people to feel there’s need to protect them,” opines Kabir, adding that having a comprehensive understanding of khazans is crucial for anyone living in Goa.
“If we are looking at becoming more of a climate-resilient state, then these systems play a vital role in protecting us and mitigating climate change,” avers Kabir.
The young filmmaker, who hails from Taleigao, plans on screening the film at many places across Goa.
“We want to reach out to as many people as we can. We won’t be doing a film festival tour with this film because we are focusing on screening the film to people in Goa, as we want them to get a comprehensive understanding of what khazans are,” he says.
DOCUMENTARY, AN EFFECTIVE MEDIUM
Documentary filmmaking gives an opportunity to showcase reality, feels Kabir stressing on how it’s an effective medium to also bring about change in society.
Having done several documentaries already on socio-political and cultural subjects, Kabir, who is currently pursuing his higher studies in political science in Delhi, says he finds this medium of story-telling very appealing.
“It’s easier to communicate and understand, and makes the subject more relatable,” says Kabir who intends to pursue mass media journalism after his current studies.
Currently, 20-year old Kabir is happy with the response that Khanvtem has been drawing, and is now preparing for his next film project which will be on the St Inez creek, in Panjim, for which they have already got a grant from the prestigious Charles Correa Foundation, he informs.
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