When Vikas came to our photo studio in New York in 2015, I didn’t know I was doing a portrait of a chef that had become a legend in India. I quickly noticed the intense creativity that manifested in everything he did and every word he said. Vikas continued to return for more photos. Each time he would tell me a little bit of his life story. It was a story of a man destined to travel outside of his troubled native land and arrive at the largest melting pot in the world. It was a story of a child in pursuit of his dream. It was a story I knew. I came to New York from Russia just a few years after Vikas moved from Amritsar. I was born in the USSR and I saw its collapse. From the windows of my home I watched cars burning and a tank firing shells at the parliament. I witnessed my country transform.
Since early childhood my dream was to become a photographer and a filmmaker. Reality would always push the dream away. During a road trip across the US with my friend we stopped to visit the Grand Canyon. We stood at the edge. Rain drops falling. I held an umbrella and a bolt of lightning went through me. I was not hurt, but it made me think about life in whole different way. I went home to Moscow, saved money, finished all my business, and came to New York to make films.
New York is made of stories like Vikas’ or mine. New York also teaches you to be more resilient, to take action, to take responsibility, not to give in to adversity.
I am grateful to Vikas for allowing me to tell his story. The interviews that we recorded during the last two years were deep and personal. I hope this film will make the viewers think and look at their own lives and dreams in a new light.
Buried Seeds gives a fresh look at the American dream at this difficult time in history when immigration is being questioned. When the media is full of stories of mistrust and hatred between nations, nationalities, social groups and neighbors – this is the time to see what unites us.
The seeds are inside each of us. Governments and people alike may claim that they own you. They may try to intimidate and control you. The truth will prevail in spite of the destruction. The seeds will grow strong. The old “you” will die to give space to the new “you” – a particle in the long chain of generations, a speck of dust of collective wisdom and an everlasting sacrifice for the children and those who come after.