Private Project

Iqraar-naama (The Agreement)

In the grand narrative of the Partition of Punjab in 1947, Iqraar-naama is a film about the 'refugee', 'migrant', 'displaced person' as the protagonist of his own story. Told through a collection of documents from the personal archive of Charandas Bangia, a Partition refugee from Lyallpur, Pakistan who finally settled in Amritsar, India. The documents preserved carefully for over 90 years set the stage for history to unfold. The film decenters historical narratives from the state to the citizen, from state archives to personal archive, looking at history from the perspective of those who experience it. Using documents, photographs, drawings, text and interviews, the film hangs on a series of dialogues between the state, citizen, allotment officers, ministry of relief and rehabilitation and other such sundry characters encountered in the history of the Partition of Punjab (1947).

  • Priyanka Chhabra
  • Charandas Bangia
    Key Cast
  • Suvani Suri
    Sound Design and Post Production
  • Abhishek Mathur
    Sound Design and Post Production
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Portrait, Historical Archive, Memoir
  • Runtime:
    54 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Hindi, Panjabi, Urdu
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital (mix media)
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Film South Asia
  • Liberation DocFest
  • Beyond Borders Feminist Film Festival
Distribution Information
  • Same as director
Director Biography - Priyanka Chhabra

Priyanka works as a film director and editor, exploring themes of memory, landscape and relationships of people to places. She articulates her practice as an archaeology of silences, digging at sites characterised by trauma; physical and emotional. Her recent work focuses on reconciling memories and experiences of the Partition of Punjab (1947), Iqraar-naama (supported by IFA, Bangalore) being her most recent work on the subject. Previous films include Pichla Varka (The Previous Page) and A Summer Flu. Her work has been exhibited at film festivals in Oberhausen, Rotterdam, Cologne, Seoul, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. She lives and works in Delhi.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I encountered Mr Bangia’s archive purely by chance. It was not even characterized as an archive till we explored the range and diversity of documents he had collected and preserved from his life and time in Jaranwala Mandi, Lyallpur (now Faislabad, Pakistan) from 1932 till his rehabilitation and resettlement in Amritsar, Punjab, India. This process of discovery has a deeply personal impulse. Being the third generation of Partition refugees from Punjab who settled in Delhi, I never heard any stories of my grandparents’ life in West Punjab or their experiences, memories of the Partition and early years as refugees in India. I have always felt a big hole inside me, marking the peripheries of an absence; of an ancestral village/house, of photographs, of ancestors, of family stories, customs, traditions and rituals, dating back and back into a time unknown. The discovery of these documents filled a part of that hole inside me, even though they didn’t belong to my family. They revealed to me the dungeon-like depths of silences that my family (and probably many like mine) have carried since the Partition broke them from their past. Iqraar-naama reflects on the nature and relationship of personal archives to history writing and history making. It has been an attempt to characterize the ‘refugee’ as the protagonist of their own story. As someone who is doing more than simply suffering history, or being historicized, as a character with agency and choices in the making of their own life.