Anurag Jain's Blog
Friday, July 18, 2008

Today/Tomorrow: Vikalp screens @ CFD 
"In the month of July VIKALP BENGALURU brings a repertoire of R.P. AMUDHAN's documentaries.

July 18 and 19 at 6.30 pm

Nani Cinematheque, Centre for Film and Drama (CFD) 5th floor, Sona Towers, 71 Millers Road, Bangalore 560052

Entrance for members only. Please bring your membership cards. If you are not a member, please come to the venue half an hour before the screening and register.



Friday, July 18, 6.30pm
VANDE MATARAM - A Shit Version (Annexure to the documentary "Shit") 2005, 6 minutes
SHIT 2003, 26 minutes

Saturday, July 19, 6.30pm
SERUPPU 2007, 74 minutes
THE ROAD 2008, 10 minutes
NIGHT LIFE 2008, 5 minutes

For more about the filmmaker, you can go to

VANDE MATARAM - A Shit Version (Annexure to the documentary "Shit") The music video juxtaposes the 'patriotic' song with visuals of various activities of manual scavenging that still takes place in Tamilnadu.

SHIT Original name: Pee (in Tamil) Mariyammal, a dalit (untouchable or harijan or scheduled caste) is a worker with Madurai Municipal Corporation in Madurai, South India. She is involved in manual scavenging activity – which still prevails in India - and is in the payroll of the Government of Tamilnadu. The film shot while she was at work, shows the extent of humiliation she goes through everyday for 25 years. She sweeps, collects and carries the night soil in a street adjacent to a Hindu temple, with help of a broom, a vessel and some ash every morning without fail. The film uses a lot of symbols to bring out the discrimination she experiences while others lead a life with dignity around her. The film has no voice over per se. It has no music. It also does not have an activist or an expert but Mariyammal and her work.

NOTE FROM THE CREMATORIUM Original name: Mayanakurippugal Madurai city has a central crematorium, where dalits (the untouchables or the harijans or people from the scheduled caste) are involved in a traditional occupation that includes carrying dead bodies, burying or burning them and finally accept whatever paid by the relatives of the deceased ones. The film is a journey into the crematorium to capture the various rituals carried out by the dalits to their fellow citizens who otherwise would not have touched them. Ironically death comes alive to bring people together. An old Tamil movie song is used in the film to provoke certain existential questions about life and death. But it is mandatory to have knowledge and skill to become a successful undertaker.

SERUPPU Footwear in English This is a socio-cultural documentary on the lives of Catholic Arundhatiyars (Dalits/harijans/ untouchables) of Dharmanathapuram, an old slum located at the heart of Tiruchirappalli in Tamilnadu, a southern state in India. The people of Dharmanathapuram are involved in making footwear, one of the traditional caste based occupations of a dalit with in Indian caste based society. According to the Presidential Order 1950: Para 3, by the Union Government of India, dalits or the people from the 'lower castes' in the Indian caste system who do not follow Hindu religion (or those who have converted to Christianity or Islam), are not considered as Scheduled Caste (as any other Hindu dalits); And they do not get access to reservation for jobs or in educational institutions and other support mechanism that are otherwise available to a Scheduled Caste according to the Indian Constitution. Besides, the upper caste Hindus who have converted to Christianity also follow their caste based practices such as discrimination, exclusiveness, untouchability, and at times violence against their fellow Christians who happened to be dalits. This film brings out the discrimination and struggle faced by the Catholic Arundhatiyars of Dharmanathapuram who also face stiff competition in the economic grounds as mechanization in the footwear manufacturing continues to grow in the era of globalization.

THE ROAD Who owns the road? Especially the highways? Thousands of trees, houses and buildings are bulldozed along with local deities to make way for the roads. Fast moving vehicles occupying huge space rattle bullock carts and children. As we learn that it was Hitler who popularized the concept of highways, the discourse expands to new horizons.

NIGHT LIFE I am alone, but amidst people; I am asleep, but constantly awake; I am an outsider. I am the other. It is the night that connects us. I am the best consumer of all my woes. I protest by my presence among the "sane" people. I refuse to move, though it is dangerous to me. "

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