Monday, December 2, 2013

15th Madurai Film Festival 2013: Rest of India : Documentaries

15th Madurai Film Festival 2013


1.      I burnt my fingers
            Dir: Kamlesh Udesi; 33mins39 seccs; Gujarati; 2013; India

The largest democracy of the world witnessed one of the most brutal instances of human rights violation. An instance which proved that social welfare exists only in the files of the government office. In one of the most developing states- Gujarat, one man, after losing the election of village head ‘Sarpanch’,  made 150 villagers gothrough the test of truth by putting their fingers in burning oil.

I burnt my fingers is a story of those unfortunate men who faced the toughest test with their blood and flesh to prove their innocence and loyalty. A story of loyalty, pain and denunciation.

2.      No Problem! – six months with the Barefoot grandmamas
            Dir: Yasmin Kidwai; 56 mins 14 secs; English and Hindi; 2012; India

The film, No Problem! - Six Months with the Barefoot Grandmamas is about the rural solar electrification project run by the Barefoot College in the village of Tilonia in the state of Rajasthan, India, where numerous illiterate rural women from all over the world, particularly Africa, are being trained as solar engineers.

3.      Porattangalude Monnamkannu (Third eye of resistance)
             Dir: Razi; 95 mins; Malayalam and English; 2012; India

A journey through the life of C. Saratchandran who travelled constantly with the camera and cinemas. It is a journey through the vivid, living memories of the protesters at Chaliyar, Plachimada, Muthanga and Kathikudam; through the experiences of his friends and everyone who have travelled with him or parallel to his path. As someone who pioneered in media activism as part of the little magazine movement during the Emergency, Sarat later on took up the very political duty of documenting the popular struggle movements of Kerala. This film tries to be exactly that, a clear take on the popular risings of not just Kerala, but the whole of India, by exploring and coordinating the history of those who have travelled along with Sarat. The film is also an inquiry into the ongoing technical and creative evolutions in the production and screening of documentaries, in its right as an important media in the new world. What Sarat did with his video camera was much more than transmitting the socio-political issues to be portrayed in the mainstream society. He stood by each of those struggles, feeding them with energy and the spirit to go forward, to reach success. For someone like Sarat, who remained wide awake in both at the struggle fronts and in his personal relationships; for someone as unconditionally empathetic, the camera was always the third eye for fulfilling his mission; the third eye of resistance.

4.      A few days more
            Dir: O.P. Srivatsava; 50 mins; English and Hindi; 2012; India

The film takes us through the story of a family which is struggling to put up a spirited fight to save a loved one, who was, all of a sudden, diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. The narration throws light on various medical, social, psychological, emotional, financial and spiritual challenges faced by the protagonist and his family in dealing with the situation. The protagonist's journey through various ups and downs and his eventual metamorphosis as a semi medico- social worker is the backbone of the story.

5.      Don’t be our fathers
            Dir: Roopesh Kumar; 30 mins; Malayalam; 2013; India

Don’t be our fathers, the documentary is an attempt to capture the lives of the people of Peringeel, a predominanly dalit village, in Kannoor district Kerala. It tries to explore how the people in Peringeel determine their own life in the contemporary world confronting the patronizing efforts of the dominant political parties and communities.

6.      BV Karanth: Baba
            Dir: Ramachandra PN;93 mins; Kannada, English and Hindi; 2012; India

From a tiny village of Babukodi in Mangalore, South India to the annals of professional theater in Mysore under the then famous Gubbi Theater to the musical tutelage in the Hindi speaking belt of Banaras in North India and then to the National arena in New Delhi at Gubbi.

7.      Maliwood Talkies
Dir: Sudhir kasabe; 69 mins; Hiindi and Marathi; 2012; India

It is an inspiring story about a Malegan film industry popularly known as Maliwood. The journey began 13 years ago is making films with low budget handy cam to big budget T.V Serial. This work is appreciated and applauded all over the world but is marked with the sacrifice and hardship of countless people. Their sheer passion for cinema has placed a small town “Malegon” on the world map for its contribution to the cinema!

8.      V.Babasaheb (life in full open)
            Dir: Avinash Deshpande; 52mins; Marathi, Hindi & English; 2013; India

In a career as cameraman spanning four decades (1946-1993), V.Babasaheb won the reputation of being an excellent cameraman who delivered box-office blockbusters. This film is much about his cinematography as it is about the circumstances in which he worked the highs and lows of professional life of his times and the problems and situations that he had to deal with in his craft of cinematography. Today, as he peers through the eye-piece of a Mitchell camera on the campus of FTII Pune, where he began his career (in Prabhat studios), V. Babasaheb is 94 years young.

9.      Ningal Aranaye Kando? (Have you seen the arena?) 
            Dir: Sunandha Bhat; 73mins; Malayalam; 2012; India

A woman’s concern over the disappearance of medicinal plants from the forest, a farmer’s commitment to growing traditional varieties of rice organically and a cash crop cultivator’s struggle to survive amidst farmers’ suicides, offer fresh insights into shifting relations between people, knowledge systems and environment.

10) My Kashmir
Dir: Modhuri Mohinder and Vaishali Sinha; 31mins; Documentary; English, Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi; 2013; India

My Kashmir is a film about being young in Kashmir, India, one of the most contentious and militarized regions in the world. For two college students, Iqbal & Javaid, a childhood rife with curfews, crossfires and crackdowns has given way to a generation questioning their lack of freedom, while carving a peaceful path to their future.

11) Kandhamal UNRESOLVED
Dir: Shailendra boora; 60mins; Documentary; Hindi; 2013; India

Its been five years since the communal violence unleashed on
Christians in Kandhamal, Odisha. Until now, peace and justice have been to the
victims. Very few were arrested and even they have been released on bail. The
film looks into the present situation of Kandhamal, especially the struggles of
victims, denial of peace and justice, intimidation, and hate-campaign by sang
parivar, and relationship between the Hindu identity and the Adivasi community.

12) Bottle Masala in Moile
Dir; Vaidehi Chitre; 38mins; Documentary; English, East Indian Marathi, Marathi, Hindi; 2012; India

 Descendents of the indigenous populations of Mumbai, the East Indian
community originated from diverse local groups such as farmers, fishing people,
toddy tappers, salt pan workers and others. Several of them were agriculturalists
working on land that they also owned.

Today, as owners of ancestral property in a city that is developing at an
aggressive pace, the community finds itself rapidly losing land to government and
corporate forces.  

13) Scattered Windows, Connected Doors
Dir; Ms. Roohi Dixit and Ms. Ziba Bhagwagar: 75mins: Documentary: English: 2013 India

Scattered Windows, Connected Doors is a film about women from
urban India. Eight women. Eight stories. An inspiring documentary capturing the thoughts and choices of these women living in urban India.

14) Ball N Beautiful
Dir: Chida Bora; 14:48mins: Documentary: Assamese; 2011; India

Indian economy is in a rising state and is ranked as tenth largest in the
world, yet there are probably 75% people are below the poverty line. The “Ball n
Beautiful” is an unusual story of few girls from Rani, a village in kamrup district
of North-east India who are from the background of below poverty line. These
girls have formed a women football team in this ironical cricket crazy nation
patriarchal society.

It is rather skeptical that to what extent these girls will go on playing soccer, but
this film tries to depict their dreams to do something.

15) Sama – Muslim Mystic Music of India
Dir: Shazia Khan:  52mins: Documentary: Multiple Indian regional Languages
 2013; India

SAMA is the story of Indian Islamic Music, born out of a union of
Indian and Islamic traditions, more than a thousand years ago. It explores the
intermingling of these, in both form and content, to become a truly magnificent

16) A Little Revolution – A Story of Suicides and Dreams
Dir: Harpreet Kaur: 60mins: Documentry: English & Panjabi: 2009; India & USA

A Little Revolution - A Story of Suicides and Dreams, follows the
remarkable journey of filmmaker Harpreet Kaur, who travels from the rural
villages of Panjab to the capital of India with children of farmers, who've
committed suicide.

17) Diaries of unknown
Dir: Sohil Vaidya: 25mins: Documentary: Marathi/Hindi: 2012-2013: India

This Documentary is an Attempt to take a look at the lives of homeless
people, their struggle to survive, their daily routine and many other aspects
associated with their lives.

18) Good girls don’t Dance
Dir: Padmalatha Ravi: 14mins 29sec: Documentary: English, Kannada, Tamil and hindi: 2013: India

This is a documentary that questions the notions that shape the society's
reaction to sexual harassment, molestation and rape. It tries to understand the
notion of good girls and bad girls that forms the basis for this reaction. The film
uses interview format.

19) Mystery Hunters
Dir: Sajeevan Anthikad: 59mins: Documentary: English: 2012: India

Mystery Hunters is a documentary about the life of a social reformer,
Basava Premanand (17february 1930-4october 2009). He lived in Pothanur,
Coimbatore. He has organized many tours around rural India for the promotion of
scientific thinking including exposing alleged ‘Miracles and scams done by
various gurus and also spread awareness against superstition.

20) 1cube
Dir: Pramod Dev:42min 51secs: Documentary: English, Malayalam & Tamil
2012: India

The film depicts a working day of three women living thousands of
kilometers apart with nothing in common between them. Their only connection is
that they are in contact with trade and globalization in one-way or the other.
As the film crisscrosses the lives of the three women; it explores whether they are
truly different and unconnected.

21) “Vidhappadu” (Sowing Field)
Dir: Aneez K M: 21mins 48sec: Documentary: Malayalam: 2013: India

This documentary, entitled Vithappadu provides an insight to the issues
of food, sovereignty, sustainable management of traditional rice farming system
and the adaptive strategy of reorganization of the social structure of traditional
agricultural system at the dimensional background of the Wayanad region kerala,

22) A Commons story
Dir: Epti patnaik, Ananda Siddhartha, Pratik Bhakta, Piyush Garud: 31mins 48sec
Documentary: Hindi, English: 2013: India

Set in Rajasthan, the film explores the issue of the commons in three villages –
Achalpur, Thoria and Sanjari Ka Badiya. These villages are among several others
which have started the process of regeneration and conservation of common lands
in the last 15 years, with support from the Foundation for Ecological Security.

23) Badalte Nakshe (Changing Maps)
 Dir: Nithila Kanagasabai, Nitya Menon, archana sadar, Lokokba: 23mins 30sec
 Documentary: Hindi, English: 2012: India

The communal violence of December 1992 and January 1993 in
Mumbai, India, following the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992
changed the city in many ways, reconfiguring its spaces, creating new divides,
giving impetus to an on-going politics of hate and fundamentally altering the
cosmopolitan fabric of the city. Badalte Nakshe is one of the six films in the
Remembering 1992 series created collectively by the students and faculty of the
School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

24) Daane Daane pe
Dir: Nithila kanagasabai, Mridula chari, nitya menon, Krishna panchal: 28mins Documentary: English, Hindi, Tamil: 2013: India

Migrants bring their own identities to cities that are manifested and
reinterpreted through food. Despite this city becoming increasingly hostile to
outsiders, boundaries blur and stories meld. Old legends, a hardening Mumbai,
new identities. This film explores the increasingly threatened spaces of street food
in Mumbai and how it affects the livelihoods of those around it. The film traces
various legends around the origins of different street foods and how it changes
people’s relationships to food, identity and outsiders even today.

25) Farooq versus The State
Dir: Anjali Montero and K.P. Jayasankar: 25mins: Documentary:Hindi, English
 2012: India

Hari Masjid, Wadala, Mumbai, was the scene of a brutal police attack
on January 10, 1993. Though Farooq Mhapkar was one of the casualties of
indiscriminate police firing, he was charged as a rioter. Farooq versus The State is
the story of Farooq's protracted legal battle against an unyielding State in pursuit
of justice. Through this case, the film seeks to explore how justice was delayed
and denied to the victims and survivors of the 1992-93 communal violence.

26) Flash point
Dir: Mridula chari, Francis Lohrii, Gursimran Khamba, Shivani Gupta.: 19mins 20 sec
Documentary: English: 2013: India

Mohammed Ali Road and Mahim were among the more affected areas
during the riots of 1992-1993. Twenty years later, this film takes the lens back to
those areas to map the middle classes of those areas. Their lives, though not
tangibly afflicted, were nonetheless transformed by that time enough to reflect in
their attitudes towards communalism today. Prominent writer and journalist Dilip
D'souza, draws these narratives together as we try to make sense of stereotypes
that persist even today.

27) Take back the fight
Dir: Sujatha Subramanian, Shruthi Ravi, likokba, Mrinal singh: 27mins 43sec
Documentary: English: 2013: India

‘Look alert, don't look like an easy target! Deesha's martial art classes
equip young girls to handle threatening situations that arise in the outside world
and within their families. Tanvi's identity straddles the worlds of an everyday
college student and a learner of martial arts. In doing so, she stands out amongst
her peers as someone who brings knowledge of the latter to the former.

28) When Shankar Nag comes asking
Dir: Sushma Veerappa: 66:45: Documentary: Kannada: 2013: India

Bangalore could be any other metropolis of India. The lives of the auto-drivers in the documentary could be survival stories of vulnerable millions in many big cities right across the world. The twist in Bangalore’s tale is Shankar Nag. No other city has an actor who died more than 20 years ago, still breathing through auto-ricksha windshields.

WHEN SHANKAR NAG COMES ASKING unfolds today’s Bangalore. In the race to become a ‘global’ city, the struggle is as much in holding on to the familiar as it is about embracing the new. In what ways does one seek the familiar, when the familiar is not the same anymore?

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