Babaji, an Indian Love Story| 1hr : 12mins
Director: Jiska Rickels | Producer: Wink de Putter
Focus Years: 2008 | Country: Netherlands
'BABAJI, AN INDIAN LOVE STORY' is a poetic documentary about a very old man, in the north-earstern part of India who waits for death. Mr. Basant Rai, also called Babaji, is 107-years old and widely known as a Sjamaan who cured many people from all kinds of illnesses. When someone is possessed by a bad ghost, he catches this ghost with a special ritual and locks it up in a small metal cocoon which he keeps on a little altar in his garden.
Even the former minister of finance in Delhi asked him for help when he became ill and Babaji went to Delhi and cured him. He cured many people but couldn't help the person who he loved the most, his wife. When his wife got cancer he had to take her to the local hospital and a short time later she died. Babaji could not let her go and wanted to bury her in a grave close to his house, instead of cremating her according to Hindu tradition.
Since his children resisted, his wife was cremated in a traditional way, but after the cremation Babaji still took one part of his wife with him to bury it in the grave next to his house, her skull.
For months after her death, Babaji hardly ate, hoping that he would die too, so that they would be reunited. But death did not come. Then he started making another grave next to the one of his wife, his own.
When his grave was finished he started with a striking ritual, every day when the blistering heat forces the villagers into their houses, Babaji descends into his grave. Here he lays down on the cold floor, staring at the sky above him, hoping that death will come.
When the local journalist from the Hindustan Times found out about this story, he published an article about Babaji. It didn't take long until the news spread over India, and people came to look at this old man, lying in his own grave. But Babaji still seemed to be lost in memories and hardly reacted on the sounds from the surrounding. Only when Nandaan, a black crow who lives in his garden, calls him, he responds from his grave with a crow-like answer: Nandaan, come, come, come!