Review: These New Delhi brothers heal ‘All That Breathes’ in extraordinary documentary
Bouba Dolla, left, and his brother, Yousuf, speak to the camera as two sisters, Zaina (red checkered top) and Zainab (purple striped top) visit a hospital for children in Delhi.
A documentary film about two siblings who have spent their lives healing sick babies is one of those rare instances where a film has been able to both entertain and educate the public.
In fact, it does both to a remarkable degree – if one can overlook the fact that it’s a docudrama about a two-decade-old feud between brothers made even more bizarre by the fact that it’s set in a hospital in a former British colony surrounded by a Muslim majority.
These new Delhi brothers – Nusrat (pictured with the baby they saved from a fatal fall last year) and Rizwan – can make a film like this because of the support of their family and community.
The film is unusual for a number of reasons, not least the fact that it is almost three-quarters written by Nusrat, the daughter of the brothers and their adopted daughter, Zainab.
Even more unusual is that she has chosen to take on this role.
“For me, it seemed like she had been pushed into doing it,” Nusrat told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview.
It’s an intriguing choice that speaks to how deeply the film resonates with the community in which it was made.
The brothers left India when their parents died at the age of 13 and Nusrat was six years old when she was adopted by them.
“I was so torn. If I kept living with them, I would never be able to escape their grief,” she said.
“The film is an attempt to heal our grief as well.”
She added: “I’m sure that many people will relate to them as a brother and sister and their story; as a result, the film will make people talk and reflect on their own relationship, particularly in families or societies where there are big gaps.”
The film’s director, Yousuf (also a filmmaker by training), was also so deeply affected by their story that