Deep down the Bay of Bengal on an ancient trade route to the far east, in the Nicobar archipelago lived the Nicobarese. Once upon a time, the islands were much frequented by passing traders for sojourns. The Nicobarese used to barter coconuts with them for fancies like an old hat or a coat, silk handkerchiefs, sometimes even empty alcohol bottles. In 1956, after becoming part of the Indian state, the islands came to be protected under the Andaman and Nicobar Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation. Free Passage was restricted. No one, not even Indian citizens could visit the islands and the Nicobarese got cut off as if living in a time capsule until the Tsunami of December 26th, 2004. Seven years after Tsunami, the film looks at the erstwhile self-contained universe now scattered and fragmented to eventually amalgamate in a much larger world order over which they have little control.
After graduating from Film and Television Institute of India in Direction in 2005, Richa Hushing was associated with the digital image archive at Majlis – a centre for rights discourse and multidisciplinary arts in Mumbai. She is one of the founding contributors to the Public Access Digital Media Archive (www.pad.ma). She began making short documentaries since 2008. Her films observe intangible cultures through characters resisting social norms or responding to social flux. ‘Nicobar, a long way…’ is her first feature length film. She is currently engaged in raising resources to create an online repository of over 120 hours of footage from the Nicobar archipelago.