Borderlands (Samarth Mahajan) India

Samarth Mahajan
India. 2021. 67 min

‘Borderlands’ is an intimate exploration of lives
defined by personal and political borders in the
Indian sub-continent. Through conversations and
observations, the film reveals people’s efforts to find
meaning in a world beyond their control.


Samarth Mahajan is a non-fiction filmmaker based in Mumbai. ‘The Unreserved’, his national award-winning debut feature documentary on passengers of general compartments in Indian Railways, premiered at Film Southasia 2017 and received broadcast & theatrical releases in India. ‘Kazwa’, his short documentary on sustainable rural tourism through fireflies, won awards at multiple international film festivals.


The global debate around borders is at a critical stage. As masses consume state sponsored news and listen to otherizing narratives from popular leaders, it is important to bring out perspectives rooted in ground reality. Amplifying such narratives can enable us to acknowledge the humanity latent in us and inhibit the pace at which we are moving into a more fragmented future.
Growing up near the India-Pakistan border, my own lived experience affirms that our relationships with our neighbours are defined by the powers that be, and not people who experience the after-effects of these relationships. India’s diverse borderlands provide an ideal ground to explore how everyday people deal with the consequences of borders.

The film is an ode to human resilience, which refuses to buckle down. It explores the themes of migration, cross-border kinship, livelihoods, conflict & fluid identities through the axes of gender, class, ability, nationality, & sexuality. In a world where ‘Us vs Them’ precedes the understanding of Us and Them, the film intends to make one notice similarities over differences.


Borderlands / 2021 / Documentary / 67 min,
The Unreserved / 2017 / Documentary / 60 min,
Kazwa / 2016 / Documentary / 9 minutes