India, Finland | 2017 | 55 min | English, Hindi | Director Attending
As legendary photographer Raghu Rai travels across Kashmir to catalogue unrest in the region, he is accompanied by his daughter Avani, who is intent on exploring their personal relationship on film. Raghu works with a Nikon D100 to capture his surroundings, while Avani uses DSLR video, and the pair reflect on their lives, politics and Raghu’s craft &mdash amply illustrated with stills from his archive. Rai began taking photos in the 1960s, and has published more than 50 books chronicling post-independence Indian history. He is best known for his powerful series on the 1971 Bangladesh war, the 1975 state of emergency and the aftermath of the 1984 Bhopal tragedy, as well as his portraits of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. Rai junior has inherited her father’s eye and doggedness and, as their journey progresses, pries beneath the 75-year-old’s gruff exterior to reveal personal, professional and familial truths, whilst pondering her own life and legacy.
Born in Delhi in 1992, Avani Rai was educated at Vasant Valley School before moving to Mumbai to study journalism at SCM Sophia. She has since contributed photos to The Sunday Guardian , Scroll.in and The Wire , and worked as a cameraperson on a number of fiction and documentary shorts including Uski Baarish (2013).
Recalling the filming of An Unframed Portrait , Avani says, “[My father] would look at the camera from the front and tell me what's wrong with my lens or my framing. But I would have my way and tell him this is not maths and I can film however I want.” She adds, “this tension between a father and daughter, without having to prove who’s right or wrong, is the essence of the film.”