“Rivers dry up not only because of lack of rainfall but also because of suffocation of smaller streams, chaotic urbanization, deforestation, and unplanned public policy. A civilization too can suffer from choking and droughts, in forms of dogmas, ignorance, and superstition.”
— Writer and Director Aditya Patwardhan
I can’t recall — if ever — the last time I watched a theatrical feature that meshed the fictional and non-fictional documentary into one cohesive film. So, with that combining of narratives, you wonder if it will work. And it does, masterfully, in this, Aditya Patwardhan third feature film.
In a felicitous work with man desiring a greener planet, we see the hardships of India’s water and climate change crisis — along with the related unemployment, poverty and hygiene issues — through the eyes of four people: Adriana, a refugee from civil war-torn Venezuela; Kankana, an Indian actress working in Hollywood; Suraj, a street cleaner from the Rajasthan slums of India, and Ravi, a television news reporter from Jaipur.
Adriana came to the Far East land with Rally for River, a pan-India campaign that strives for a better planet. Kankana, who returned to her homeland to research her upcoming film role, instead becomes a catalyst for her reconnecting with her family and homeland. For publicity, she travels with the privileged Ravi, who, instead of chronicling Kankana’s life and career, comes to see the deterioration of his county through her eyes. Suraj, the street cleaner and least privileged of the quartet, sees the world differently: man can, not only ruin the world: he believes they have the power to save it.
Everything works in A Nomad River: The acting (including U.S. TV-familiar Nicole Cannon of the CSI franchise and Lifetime movie shingle), the writing and scripting in a brilliant narrative juxtaposition shot for, get this: $200,000. It’s an amazing movie that has to win multiple awards. It must.
His work internationally recognized, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Aditya Patwardhan has created a wide array of music videos, shorts, pilots and documentaries shot not only in the United States, but in India and Columbia, as well as Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. His feature film debut, And the Dream that Mattered, a drama about an Asian actor’s journey from Korea to Hollywood, debuted in 2018. His sophomore effort, Transference, a drama regarding the struggles of sexual child abuse, appeared in 2020.
Patwardhan’s third feature, A Nomad River, becomes available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies, Cable and Satellite On Demand on October 19, 2021, through Freestyle Digital Media.
Other films we’ve reviewed through Freestyle Digital Media include The Capture, The Control, Dead Air, Goodbye Honey, Hawk & Rev: Vampire Slayers, The Invisible Mother, and Shedding. You can find those films, and more, on their Amazon Prime portal.
Four other indies we’ve reviewed with exotic locals are A Band of Rogues, Gozo, Nona, and Still the Water. Another film that analogies man with nature is the very fine Chasing the Rain. Do seek each of them out for a night of viewing. They come highly recommended for anyone who supports indie films.
Disclaimer: We were provided a screener copy of this film from the production’s PR firm. That has no bearing on our review.