Broken Eternity


Broken Eternity is a love story told across three time frames, bound together by a dream sequence which our main character Sarala believes is a past life. Little Sarala tells her father Chandran about her dream, and the conversation haunts them both years later. Weaving together childhood, present day and dream-past, Broken Eternity is an intricate tale that explores reincarnation and a love that transcends boundaries.

Broken Eternity is a doorway into my world, one steeped in Hindu rituals, Vedic chants, and the power of the gods. I wanted to explore this unique and ancient world through a modern girl’s eyes, mixing the old and the new, seeing how they rub together in a beautiful and dangerous way.

Love. Reincarnation. Desire. I wanted to explore these themes and push the story into a forbidden zone: a love between a father and daughter that transcends time. I am drawn to the elliptical nature of time, weaving time frames, building a story like the intricate pieces of a puzzle that fit together at the end. I want the viewer to feel that he/she has experienced a visual poem.

Broken Eternity is a love story set in modern day London, yet begins one hundred years ago in India. Much of the action unfolds without words; the only real dialogue is a sequence that takes place ten years ago between the main characters, Sarala (Aria Prasad) and her father Chandran (Ramon Tikaram). It is a conversation between little Sarala and Chandran that becomes the vehicle for our understanding of the theme of reincarnation and how it relates to Sarala’s dream. It helps thread three strands together: childhood, present day and dream/past; layering images and moments to create an impressionistic film. It also acts, at times, as a voice-over, showing us that Sarala believes she is the woman in the dream, the woman in the past.

Beginning work on the storyboard was a way for me to finally, with co-writer Carlos Contreras, bring the words on the page to life, to tell a complex, powerful story in a simple and fluid way. I wanted the film to work on numerous layers, levels, and time frames, to explore the psyche of my main characters, to take the viewer on a special journey. I am drawn to the erotic, to darkness, to love and loss.

The film touches on tenets of Hinduism; the concept of the soul and reincarnation. Ganesh, (the Hindu Elephant God), becomes a character in the story, guiding Sarala through her different lives with the final scene of the ritual symbolizing cleansing and rebirth.

The present day section has the disconnected feeling of urban city living, the characters moving through tall buildings and empty corridors, longing to connect, surrounded by glass, metal, and stone. The forest section, by contrast, has an organically mythic feel, intensely romantic, yet shadowy, darkness always at the edges – time feels endless. Childhood is a memory of purity, of innocence, placed in the city somewhere, a house, a nowhere world hovering between past and present.
Finally, the film explores elements of Indian culture in a way I’ve not seen before, entering forbidden territories through a different door, pushing boundaries.
— Devika Ponnambalam - 2014

Broken Eternity is a Film4-backed short developed and produced by B3 Media. Directed by Devika Ponnambalam, co-written by Ponnambalam and Carlos Contreras, and stars Aria Prasad and Ramon Tikaram.