3 Films by Sanjay Kak interrogating the workings of Indian democracy.
Organizers: The Root Reel
WORDS ON WATER, 27th Aug
“People’s movement against large dams in the Narmada valley”
English (subtitled), 85 min, 2002
For more than 15 years, people of the Narmada Valley in central India have resisted a series of massive dams on their river, and in their struggle have exposed the deceptive heart of India¹s development politics. When the use of violence has become the arbiter of all political debate, ‘Words on Water’ is about a sustained non-violent resistance, an almost joyous defiance, which empowers people as they struggle for their rights, yet saves them from the ultimate humiliation of violence.
JASHN-E-AZADI, 24th Sep
“How We Celebrate Freedom”
English (subtitled), 139 min, 2007
It’s India’s Independence day, and its flag ritually goes up in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir. But the empty streets and the sullen silence that greet India’s claim on Kashmir spark off old questions about freedom – azadi – and the denial of freedom. After 18 years of an armed struggle, with 60,000 dead and nearly 7,000 missing, Kashmir’s people begin to look within their ledger of loss. Using a mix of verité footage, rare archival material, poetry and text, a provocative look at Indian democracy, and a reflection on power, resistance and “freedom’s terrible thirst”.
RED ANT DREAM, 29TH Oct
“Let us declare that the state of ward does exist and shall exist”
120 mins | Gondi, Odiya, Punjabi with English Subtitles
This film chronicles stories of resistance from Bastar, Odisha, Punjab…and speaks about the life of revolutionary possibility in India. ‘Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist’, the revolutionary patriot had said almost a hundred years ago, and that forewarning travels into India’s present, as armed insurrection simmers in Bastar, in the troubled heart of central India. But to the east too, beleaguered adivasis from the mineral-rich hills of Odisha come forth bearing their axes, and their songs. And in the north the swelling protests by Punjabi peasants sees hope coagulate–once more–around that iconic figure of Bhagat Singh, revolutionary martyr of the anti-colonial struggle. But are revolutions even possible anymore? Or have those dreams been ground down into our nightmares? This is a chronicle of those who live the revolutionary ideal in India, a rare encounter with the invisible domain of those whose everyday is a fight for another ideal of the world.
The third in a cycle of films that interrogate the workings of Indian democracy, Red Ant Dream (2013) follows Jashn-e-Azadi (2007) about the idea of freedom for Kashmir, and Words on Water (2002) about the people’s movement against large dams in the Narmada valley.
Venue: Alliance Francaise de Bombay
New Marine Lines
Near Churchgate, Mumbai
Date: Tuesday, August 27
Time: 6:30pm until 8:00pm
Entry: Free/Open to all