14th Madurai Film Festival : Final list of films; Retrospective Section

14th Madurai International Documentary 

and Short Film Festival 2012

6,7,8 December 2012

RETROSPECTIVE Section

ANJALI MONTEIRO & K. P. JAYASANKAR



Anjali Monteiro and K. P. Jayasankar are Professors at the Centre
for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Mumbai. Both of them are involved in media production, teaching
and research. Jointly they have won twenty-one national and international
awards for their Films, including the Prix Futura Berlin
1995 Asia Prize for Identity, Best Documentary Award at the Three
Continents International Festival of Documentaries, Venezuela.
Their work has also been screened widely, at fi lm festivals, on
Indian and overseas television networks and at Universities and
institutions across the world. They are both recipients of the Howard
Thomas Memorial Fellowship in Media Studies, and have been
attached to Goldsmith’s College, London, and the University of
Western Sydney.

1) Our Family
Directed by Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar
56 mins, Tamil with English subtitles, 2007

What does it mean to cross that line which sharply divides us on
the basis of gender? To free oneself of the socially imposed onus
of being male, to liberate the female that lies within? In this film,
scenes from Nirvanam, a one person performance in Tamil which
explores these questions, are juxtaposed with an intimate portrait
of three generations of trans-gendered female subjects, who are all
bound together by ties of adoption. In the process, the fi lm questions
notions of normality and fixed gender identities.

2) SheWrite
Directed by Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar
55 mins, English and Tamil versions, 2005

SheWrite weaves together the narratives and work of four Tamil
women poets. Salma negotiates subversive expression within the
tightly circumscribed space allotted to a woman in a small town.
For Kuttirevathi, solitude is a crucial creative space from where
her work resonates. Her anthology entitled Breasts (2003) elicited
hate mail, obscene calls and threats. The fact that women poets are
exploring themes such as desire and sexuality been opposed by
some Tamil film lyricists, who have gone on record with threats of
death and violence.

This has been resisted by a collective of poets and artists called
Anangu (Woman). MalathyMaitri is a founder member of Anangu.
Her poems explore feminine power and spaces. Sukirtharani
writes of desire and longing, celebrating the body and feminine
empowerment. The fi lm traverses these diverse modes of resistance,
through images and sounds that evoke the universal experiences
of pain, anger, desire and transcendence.

3) YCP 1997
43 Mins., English,1997
Directed by K.P. Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro

Built between 1865 and 1876, Yerwada Central Prison (YCP), Pune,
is one of the oldest prisons in India, with over 2500 inmates. In
this video, six poets and artistes of the YCP share their work, their
lives... Through their poems and musings, the film explores the
modes in which they creatively cope with the pain and stigma of
incarceration, in the process questioning their selfhood and the
socially constructed divides between ‘us’ and ‘them’, between the
‘normal’ and the ‘deviant’.

4) Naata (The Bond)
45 mins., English and Hindi versions, 2003
Directed by K.P. Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro

Naata is about BhauKorde and Waqar Khan, two activists and
friends, who have been involved in confl ict resolution, working
with neighbourhood peace committees in Dharavi, reputedly, the
largest ‘slum’ in Asia. This film explores their work, which has
included the collective production and use of visual media for
ethnic amity. Naata is also about us; among other things, it is an attempt
to reflect on how we relate to spaces of the other, spaces like
Dharavi. It is, above all, about Mumbai, the city that encompasses
Bhau, Waqar and us.

5) So Heddan So Hoddan 
A Film by Anjali Monteiro and KP Jayasankar
52 mins, Sindhi, Kachchhi and Hindustani with English subtitles, 2011,
A Public Service Broadcasting Trust Production



Before the Partition the Maldhari (pastoralist) Jatts moved freely
across the Rann, between Sindh (now in Pakistan) and Kutch. As
pastoral ways of living have given way to settlement, borders
and industrialisation, the older generation struggles to keep alive
the rich syncretic legacy of Shah Bhitai, that celebrates diversity
and non-difference, suffering and transcendence, transience and
survival.
These marginal visions of negotiating difference in creative ways
resist cultural politics based on tight notions of nation-state and
national culture; they open up the windows of India’s national imaginary.

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