Documentary film fest explores documentaries from South Asia
New Delhi: An ancient love story of a Muslim prince with a Hindu woman, an unfamiliar facet of Pakistani sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the search for freedom by Afghani women – these are some of the stories that would be unfurled on film at the upcoming South Asian Documentary Festival in Srinagar.
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Leading directors like Tanvir Mokammel (Bangladesh), Anju Chhetri (Nepal) and Munizae Jahangir (Pakistan) are expected to attend the three-day festival beginning November 23 that will feature 23 thought-provoking films drawn from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The event is being organised by Anhad Institute of Media Studies and Educational Multimedia Research Centre of Kashmir University.
Kickstarting the festival is Bhagmati, a 21-minute documentary by Ashok Koul, starring Bollywood actors Tabu and Milind Soman who portray in the present the immortal love story of Muslim prince Mohd Quli Qutb Shah and Hindu girl Bhagmati.
The world has known Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as a popular sufi qawwali singer but Pakistani director Farjad Nabi’s documentary reveals the metamorphosis of the singer, from a genuine popular artiste to a mass produced exotica of the East.
It won the second prize at the recent South Asian Film Festival in Kathmandu. Tanvir Mokammel’s critically-acclaimedSwapnabhumi (The Promised Land) is a story of six decades, three countries and statelessness of about lakhs of Urdu-speaking people who originally emigrated from India to now-defunct East Pakistan in 1947 and afterwards and aredisillusioned by Pakistan’s repeated promise to taken them as their citizens.
The film had won a top award at the South Asian festival in Kathmandu two months back.
Mokammel who has directed fiver films like the River named Madhumati, Quiet rolls the river Chitra, A tree without roots, along with 11 documentaries has just returned fromtwo month tour of Japan sponsored by the Japanese government and won an award from the Rotterdam film festival organisers for the script of his next feature film.
War-Engendered Widows by acclaimed Nepalese documentary maker Anju Chetri portrays the story of women in her country who were widowed by the conflict in the Himalayan nation. Chetri’s other film Conflict and Rape to be screened at the festival is about women who were raped by security forces and Maoists in Nepal.
Global Warming -a catastrophe in making by Shafqut Habib and Shahid Rasool, two students of Kashmir University, will show the impact of climate change on different sectors in Jammu and Kashmir experiencing erratic snowfall and hotter summers for the last decade or so.
Words in Stone by Akhila Krishnan is about Wali Gujarati, the first poet to write ghazals in Urdu in 17th century, whose tomb was destroyed in the communal carnage that had rocked Gujarat. The film, using Wali as a metaphor, attempts to look at culture, language, and history in the light of change It seeks to show how some histories gradually disappear when people are made to forget them.
Search for Freedom by Pakistan-based television news channel correspondent Munizae Jahangir explores the lives of four Afghan women drawn from diverse strata of society — a princess, a war widow, a young medical student and a mother of four children who are affected by the political and social turmoil in Afghanistan at various times from the 1920’s to the present day.
The Quality of Life byAakash Shakeel focuses on the mental trauma of people hit by militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the valley, where the mental healthcare system has been under tremendous pressure and Working on the Edge, a project of students of Kashmir University, delineates the life of journalists who have risked their lives to do their job.
Amar Kanwar’s Freedom is a documentary about anti-mining tribals in Orissa, mass movements in Chattisgarh, agitation by coastal communities against big ports and industrial parks in Kutch in Gujarat.
Xeno by Albert Kurian is an eight-minute film which tells the story of a man who is suspected to be a terrorist in a tea shop while having tea while America Americaby KP Sasi is a music video that “exposes the American war machine”.
Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad promises the festival will be a veritable treat of thoroughly-provoking cinema which has always aroused good response in Srinagar.
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