Border within Border

Abandoned by the states, Kofur (42), an illiterate brick-maker, doesn’t belong to any nation. Both India and Bangladesh deny him an identity and the most fundamental human rights of citizenship.

"We are captives here … like birds in a cage. We have no papers to prove our nationality. Neither India, nor Bangladesh considers us as their citizens. They treat us like illegal immigrants. But our land is here [within India]. What else can we do? Where can we go? At times I wonder, are we human beings or animals?" asks Kofur, the 42-year-old protagonist of the film. The film is set in a Bangladeshi enclave called Poaturkuthi where Kofur resides with his family. It’s a small piece of territory along Indo-Bangladesh border that officially belongs to Bangladesh but remains entirely landlocked within mainland India and geographically separated from Bangladesh. Kofur is trapped in this extra-ordinary situation since the moment of his birth. He has nothing – no passport, no identity card, no birth certificate, not even a document to prove his citizenship. For, he doesn’t belong to any country, state or nation. And hence no question of any entitlements whatsoever. Kofur is compelled to live like a fugitive, in constant fear of inevitably getting caught and ending up in prison, or getting deported as an illegal immigrant to Bangladesh where he remains an outsider, a non-citizen. Being so trapped, it’s getting increasingly difficult for hapless Kofur to travel to Delhi with his family and kids for his only livelihood as a brick- maker. The film embarks on a journey following the everyday struggle of Kofur’s family whose life is torn apart between the two extreme worlds of existence –– literally two prison houses, thousand miles away from each other –– the Brick Kilns in the vicinity of Delhi and the Enclave Poaturkuthi. With such an absurd predicament as an enclave-dweller, his only chance of survival rests on procuring an Indian identity card, for which he has to provide fake information as some Indian citizen stands-in as his ‘father’, in exchange of handsome bribes. Already in dire straits and hardly left with a choice, Kofur negotiates with local Indian touts with one last hope. Will he succeed? If Kofur fails, the whole family could only sink further in the pit. He could even end up in jail. How will the family manage to survive then? Meanwhile, long deprived of a meaningful and dignified human existence, a people’s movement is brewing up across the enclaves in demand for citizenship and democracy. With one flickering hope, Kofur and his kids join the community in the on-going movement.

Production team