Neera Varsha Parsan decided to put her Bachelor of Science qualifications in Indian Classical Music accomplished at the Bharatiya Vidya Sansthhaan, and her vision to utilise her knowledge of Hindi and Classical music, to optimum use.
Combining them with stories her grandmother told both her and her sister Darpan Varuna Parsan about their ancestors, they formed Parsan Productions (PP) in 2018 working on a product, Aagman (the arrival).
The creative director and doctor always wanted to produce a movie, a dream of hers, to manifest her creative vision and share with the world. The sisters are described as the two halves that make everything whole. Neera creates and Darpan executes. Darpan said she takes Neera’s visions and makes them come to life.
After making the decision to execute Aagman, they soon realised that they needed a legal organisation to manage the affairs of PP, which became a registered NGO in 2019. Other founding members: Leela Mahabir, Dr Hugh Jacobs and Avinash Kissoon.
Aagman premieres November 27 at Southern Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA) at 6 pm.
Neera, said to be fluent in Hindi, teaches the language. She composes the songs and writes the scripts for the live plays and films, including Aagman. Additionally, she formats the musical concerts, while Darpan works on marketing, administration, operations, and video editing, among others.
Darpan, too, has been voluntarily teaching Hindi and music for many years, and the film, Aagman, involves a few of her past students.
PP looks forward to gaining the support of the private and public sector to create an appetite for quality local content, especially film, and put Trinidad on the world map for the same.
“We want Trinidad to be known for the rich talent of our people…,” stated Darpan. “We would like to make this venture a viable avenue for persons wishing to get into performing arts as a career.”
The sisters also envisage the premiere of Aagman to be a launching pad to help accomplish such.
“It has been a bit challenging. We experience difficulty in getting people to conceptualise something they’ve never seen before. Many people are thinking it is a documentary on indentureship when it isn’t. We are hoping people will come out to the launch and see what we are capable of.
“Our father, the late Gangaram Parsan, was a singer who passed away without ever getting the opportunity to share his talent with the world. Our grandmother, the late Basdaye Maharaj, fondly told us stories about her grandmother who came on the boat from India. We have dedicated the film to both of them for their knowledge, teachings and inspiration.”
Aagman is a 100 per cent Trinidadian-featured film based on the personal lives of the East Indian indentured labourers, with an all-local cast and crew of almost 80 and seven all-Hindi songs written and composed by Neera.
The video, edited by Darpan and Jacobs, and while the movie received some financial support from various people, the majority of the movie was funded out of pocket, revealed Darpan. Filming began three years ago, in 2018, and the launch was postponed due to COVID.
Despite little to no guidance, support or experience, the Parsan said, looking at their first set of scenes, and following the progression of the film, one will easily see how they grew as time progressed. “As we filmed more and more scenes, our cast base grew as more and more people became interested in taking part in the project.
Aagman is very special and unique because a film like this has never been done in T&T before. We are making history and we are thankful to our cast and crew members for helping make this a reality.”
With narration by Lutchmin, granddaughter to Sita, the heroine, Sita learns of a threat to a family member who she helps to escape India and go to Trinidad. On their way, tragedy befalls and Sita is forced to go instead. The film also shows the circumstances that led other characters – Budhram Sharma and his family, Gopal, and Ahmad—to leave for Trinidad. When they all arrive, they befriend and support each other as they all navigate their new lives.
Jeevan, the song, will be featured during a pivotal point of the movie that changes Sita and Subhadra’s lives forever.