The bond between sisters is a powerful one. This special connection is explored in “Traces of Sandalwood,” a first feature film written & produced by Anna Soler-Pont, based on a novel that she wrote. The film is a Spain/India co-production and is a world premiere at this year’s Montreal World Film Festival.
Mina (Nandita Das) is a famous Bollywood actress who seems to have it all but cannot forget her younger sister Sita (Aina Clotet) from whom she was forcibly separated after the tragic passing of their mother. Thirty years later, Mina receives some information about her sister being adopted by a couple in Barcelona. Mina tracks down Sita (now known as Paula) at her place of work and tries to convince Paula that they are related. Paula has no recollection of Mina or even being of Indian descent, therefore rejects any further contact with Mina in regards to this matter. Unable to deny some of the documentation that is given to her, Paula has no choice but to face the truth about who she really is and confronts her adoptive parents about keeping her true identity a secret from her. She now begins to piece together a life she has no recollection of and sets off on a road to discovering who she really is.
This film is well written and is quite moving. The theme of identity is a worthwhile topic to explore. Family connections and adoption affects everyone involved. Maria Ripoll did a good job as a director, capturing the emotional moments of the story and filming scenic locations in India and Barcelona. As usual, Nandita Das gives a noteworthy performance and brings depth to the character of Mina. Overall, it was an enjoyable film and you should make a point to see it during the festival.