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Som Chivukula in New York
A year ago, the South Asia Initiative at Stanford University decided to highlight India's socio-political scene through films.
The group led by graduate students Suraj Jacob and Amit Puniyani and some professors got in touch with documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan to showcase his films.
Patwardhan has been making documentaries for nearly 25 years on various issues that are at the crux of social and political life in India. These range from the relationship between communalism and masculinity to environmental degradation and violence affecting marginalised communities.
Beginning October 5, a festival of his films has started at Stanford in conjunction with a course Patwardhan is teaching. The course is called 'socio-political issues in contemporary India through films'.
"The issues such as communalism, urban poverty and the Narmada dam situation come up when we're talking about India's political scene," Puniyani, who is pursuing a doctorate in physics, said. "Urban poverty is one of the most serious issues today... it's not a glamorous thing to say."
The free screenings will held on Friday evenings at 7pm in the Main Quad, Building 200, Room 34. Patwardhan and Akhil Gupta, a professor in the cultural and social anthropology department, will lead a post-screening discussion.
October 5: Bombay Our City (1985, 82 minutes, colour) tells the story of slum-dwellers in Bombay and their daily battle for survival. The film won the National Award for Best Non-fiction, 1986; Filmfare Award, Best Documentary, India, 1986; Special Jury Prize, Cinema du Reel, France, 1986.
October 12:: In the Name of God (1992, 90 minutes, colour) focuses on the campaign waged by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to destroy a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya said to have been built by the Mughal emperor Babar. The film won the Filmfare Award, Best Documentary, India, 1992; National Award for Best Investigative Documentary, India, 1992; Ecumenical Prize, Nyon, Switzerland, 1993; Documentary Prize, Friehourg, Switzerland, 1993; Citizen's Prize, Yamagata, Japan, 1993.
October 19: Father, Son and Holy War (1994, 120 minutes, colour) explores the possibility that the psychology of violence against others may lie in male insecurity. The film won the Jury Prize at the Vancouver Film Festival, 1994 and the Toronto Film Festival, 1994.
October 26: In Memory of Friends (1990, 60 minutes, colour) documents the violence and terror in Punjab. The film won the Silver Conch, Bombay Documentary Festival, 1990; Special Jury Prize, Mannheim, Germany, 1990; National Award, Best Investigative Documentary, India, 1990.
October 26: We Are Not Your Monkeys (1993, 5 minutes, colour) traces the mythological origins of the untouchables.
November 2: Narmada Diary (1995, 50 minutes, colour, video) introduces the Narmada Bachao Andolan; Fishing in the Sea of Greed (1998, 45 minutes, colour) documents the response of one fishing community in India to the 'rape and run' industries that have begun to dominate their livelihood and decimate their environment.
November 9: Occupation: Mill Worker (1996, 20 minutes, colour). Jari Mari: Of Clothes and Other Stories (2001, 74 minutes, colour) by Surabhi Sharma.
November 16: War and Peace (2001, 180 minutes)
(For more information, visit www.stanford.edu/~ashishw)
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