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Saturday, May 10, 2014

watched 'Candles in the Wind' this evening...

'Candles in the wind' (details of the movie makers below) is an amazing 50 minute documentary on the small, widowed, debt laden, women farmers of Punjab. it talks through their voice and shows their life as it is. I got to watch it along with several friends of the Organic Farming movement in a small laptop screen of Ananthoo of ReStore. 

Punjab, the land of the valiant, the land of fertility and the land of abundance seems to have lost its way, in that sense it is our first Ameirca. Rich, pompous, colourful, beautiful even, but, lost all the same. This movie goes to the core of that Punjab which we don't see much in the pictures that are portrayed in daily newspapers and bollywood movies and brings out the victims of the real politics - people who lost their beloved ones to the greed of fertilizer and pesticide companies, seed companies, the technocrats, local money lenders, brokers...women who talk their tale while going about their lives, expressing their life hopes and hopelessness, their anxieties, their is a world that mirrors many other small and marginal farmers across the country. 

The movie is a reminder and an amazing one at that for what we are losing in this country. A story telling that takes you through the emotions of the story and leaves you with a sense of sadness yet elevated state of appreciation. The last part where the movie maker breaks down and expresses what she feel is perhaps the most beautiful part of the movie and defines it.

More details below -

(Bio-filmography of the directors)

    About Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena:

     Kavita Bahl & Nandan Saxena are National Award-winning independent film-makers. They completed their Graduate & PG degree in English Literature from University of Delhi.

    As journalists- Kavita worked with one of India's best investigative newspapers- The Indian Express for seven years; Nandan worked for television programmes and news organizations. Thereafter, two years
    (1994-5) were spent in a challenging assignment in the seven states of northeast India.

    Reporting from this strife-torn region of India gave a new direction to their lives. They turned a new leaf in 1996 as independent filmmakers.

    Their oeuvre spans the domains of culture, ecology, livelihoods, development and human rights. Kavita is a researcher, a scriptwriter and a director. Nandan is a director-cinematographer, an editor and a writer. He
    is also an avid photographer who loves to impart training and share his skill with keen learners. He has a background in theatre that is put to good use in his films.

    Over the years, they have evolved their own style of filmmaking. Refusing to conform to the genres of 'documentary' and 'features' – they feel that a film, irrespective of its genre- is about story telling.

     They have just completed a trilogy of films on 'Development and Agrarian crisis' in India. The films in the trilogy are 'Cotton for my shroud' (National Film Award 2011), 'Candles in the wind' (National Film Award 2013) & 'DAMMED' (Award for Best Film in Water for All category at Vatavaran Film Festival, New Delhi, 2014).

     *'Cotton for my shroud' *is a film on the escalating suicides of cotton farmers in the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, India. It was the Headline Film at the World Investigative Film Week at London in January 2013. It has also received the Gold Award for Script at IDPA Awards for Excellence (Indian Documentary Producers' Association) & also the award at Dhan Foundation film festival in 2012.

     *'Candles in the wind'* is a film on the widows of the Green Revolution in Punjab, the breadbasket of India. 'Candles in the wind' witnesses the silent march of these women as they re-negotiate the rules of engagement and the politics of domination in their bid to survive. It had its world premiere at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (2014).
    [ Special Mention, National Film Awards (2013) 
    *Festival Screenings:*
      [ World Premiere at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Greece (2014)
      [ Official Selection – Documentarist Film Festival, Istanbul.
      [ Official Selection – Margaret Mead Documentary Film Festival, New
      York, USA.
      [ Two screenings at Hyderabad in March and April 2014.
     *DAMMED* documents the resilient, non-violent Gandhian struggle of the mega dam-affected citizens of the Narmada Valley in India. It is the story of the grit and determination of the Dam-affected villagers of Madhya Pradesh in India, submerged neck-deep in the water of River Narmada, protesting
    against the apathy of the Indian government and exploitative Dam Corporations.

    Besides films, both the filmmakers love to travel and take their work to audiences in film-festivals, educational institutes, policy-makers, NGOs and farmers' groups.

    They also offer master-classes and workshops demonstrating how to make films with a small footprint using HDSLR cameras. Various film festivals and educational institutes have invited them for holding this workshop. (Quark Workshops)

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