JANUARY 19, 2022
USA | 4 minutes | 2019
Directed by and featuring Noah Gokul (Bindiram)
How You Do Pua
How You Do Pua is a song to remind the artist, Bindiram (Noah Gokul), to call their Pua (Indo-Guyanese eldest aunt). Shot in Tokyo, the music video expresses feelings around nostalgia, yearning, queerness, and displacement in relationship to her.
CineAsian Films (CAF): What was the inspiration behind How You Do Pua?
Noah Gokul: I made this video and song to remind myself to call my Pua, my eldest Aunt on my Guyanese side. We have a lot of distance between us physically and mentally, but I love her unconditionally. She is one of the elders in my family I am most connected to, who holds a lot of the history of my family. I was working with the themes of nostalgia, shame, displacement, and queerness in the video.
I filmed this video in Tokyo, Japan, and I wanted to give a feeling of being lost, both by my physical surroundings, and by my loss of connection with her as I go through life challenges that feel so separate from her understanding. The juxtaposition of Japan, Indian clothing, South Asian drums and Indo-Guyanese patwah together in this video was a representation of multiple cultures that complicate Asian identity and represent the mixture of cultures I grew up in. We shot part of the video in Shinjuku Ni-Chome, which is a gay neighborhood of Tokyo. Those shots, alongside adorning queer presenting outfits, signifies my an aspect of my identity that my Pua doesn’t understand or accept. Despite these feelings I also wanted to portray having a desire to find cracks of connection that tie me to my roots, like my relationship to her. How You Do Pua is a call to my aunt in Toronto, but it’s also a call to me, to ground myself in my culture and ancestors, over and over.
CAF: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during production?
Gokul: We did the whole production in one day, which was an exhausting day.
The language barrier was a real challenge, during our shoot. It took a while for the production assistant to translate all the shots, second by second, to the DP, and for the DP to speak to his crew in Japanese. I was also producing and directing, while simultaneously the artist and juggling too many roles throughout the entire day. This was a great learning experience for me though, to know that it is important to have a director and producer as separate roles on set for larger projects like these.
CAF: What do you hope people can take away from watching this?
Gokul: I hope people think about their own relationship to elders in their life, and how we stay grounded in our roots. I also want people who have aspects of their identity that aren’t accepted by their family, such as being gay, to be represented.
CAF: Are you working on anything new?
Gokul: I’m currently finishing up working on a short documentary called Koru, interviewing young adults about mental health, their lived experience, and imaginations of new communities of care. It’s inspired by the spiral symbol of Maori tradition, called Koru, which symbolizes new life, transformation, and remembrance of origins.
I’m also working on a music video for one of my songs, “Carry Me to the Watah” that will be coming out soon, along with some new music. Stay tuned! You can follow me on IG at @bindiram and join my newsletter at bindiram.com.
How You Do Pua is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your project.
Director: Noah Gokul
Cinematographer: Tomoya Yamashita