UCLA International Institute
Asia Pacific Center

Advancing collaborative, interdisciplinary research on Asia worldwide


Okul Nodi (Endless River)

Film screening and Q&A with the director, Tuni Chatterji

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
39 Haines Hall

Okul Nodi is a contemplative documentary film about Bhatiyali, the river music of Bangladesh. Bhatiyali is the soulful music sung, as tradition has it, by the boatmen of Bangladesh. The poignancy of the lyrics often rests on dual meanings wherein boats become bodies, lovers are also lost gods, and river banks stand for cycles of life and death. All the while, the melody, with its tonal variations, carries the listener into the natural world by creating the sensation of drifting along the water.
We spent months traversing the Brahmaputra-Ganges delta by boats, buses and rickshaws in search of boatmen, hoping to trace a history of this musical form and its relationship to the landscape. What we found instead was a passionate group of experts, the effects of modernization on folk traditions, and an open dialogue about what it means to be Bengali. Mirroring the complicated yet fleeting relationship between the songs and the landscape and by calling attention to the intrinsic qualities of the cinematic form itself, Okul Nodi explores a disjunction between expectation and experience.



Tuni Chatterji is an artist and filmmaker whose conceptual framework begins with form itself. She is interested in understanding the phenomena of the natural world through the cinematic experience. By deconstructing the physical and philosophical spaces found in-between narrative language and documentation, she brings attention to the sensorial relationship between image and sound.
Tuni trained as a painter and went on to receive an MFA in filmmaking from The California Institute of the Arts. Tuni’s movies have been screened around the world at venues including Los Angeles Filmforum, Dhaka International Film Festival, The Ewing Gallery at the University of Tennessee, The Rotterdam International Film Festival, Echo Park Film Center, Printemps du Septembre, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Tuni became a Fulbright grantee for research and production on Okul Nodi.

This event is open to the general public and is presented in conjunction with the spring 2015 course "The Values of Water in the City in Asia."

Photo Credit: Tuni Chatterji


Sponsor(s): Asia Pacific Center, Center for India and South Asia