FSA 2001

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Film Southasia ’01 received an unprecedented number of entries for this one-and-only festival of Southasian documentaries. The organisers were overwhelmed by the quality of films received and among them the diversity of themes, treatment and motivation. Unlike in the previous two festivals (FSA ’97 and ’99), no special consideration was given to thematic variety and geographical representation, and yet the selections for FSA ’01 are widely representative and cover a larger spectrum of issues and people than the before.

The subjects of the 45 films selected for competition range from identity politics to sexual questioning, from spritual quest to diasporic angst, and from playful profiles to historical re-evaluation. The documentaries selected for competition have been made (some of them jointly) by 28 male and 21 female filmmakers. The selection panel was happy not to have to select a single film on the basis of representational tokenism. While India retains its spot among the selected entries as the pre-eminent producer of documentary films in Southasia, the panel was pleased to note the sudden increase in the number of quality entries from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

Jury Citation

The Jury found the general quality of the films entered for Film Southasia ’01 of a very high standard which only goes to prove that the genre of documentary and short film-making is alive and well and thriving in Southasia. Documentary film-making is a very recent development in many of the Southasian countries. The variety of themes, ranging from political, social, economic and cultural subjects to the very personal is remarkable in this context.

The Jury would like to thank the organisers of Film Southasia for the wonderful work that they have done and continue to do by organising these biennials. We hope that they, along with this effort, continue to grow and thrive. Read more…

  • Second Prize 2001
    A Rough Cut On the Life Times of Lachuman Magar
    Year 2001  
    Length 39'  
    Directed by
    Dinesh Deokota
    Language
    Nepali

    Lachuman Magar has led a colourful life. At the age of 58, he still has a strong affinity for the opposite sex. He has charmed them, cajoled them, and, more often than not, betrayed them. Today Lachuman’s life has come full circle and he has had to forsake most in life because of one woman. This is his story as only he can tell it.

  • A Sun Sets In
    Year 1999  
    Length 45'  
    Directed by
    Shahid Nadeem
    Language
    English

    Documented on interviews, audio stills and visuals of the incidents presenting the condition of religious intolerance in Pakistan, A Sun Sets In is the life sketch and struggle of Dr John Joseph, a Pakistani bishop, who laid down his life in 1999 to highlight the discrimination against religious minorities.

  • Aamala
    Year 2000  
    Length 22'  
    Directed by
    Elizabeth Snider
    Language
    English,Nepali,Tibetan

    In her search for the meaning of womanhood, the filmmaker lands in Kagbeni, near the kingdom of Mustang, and discovers a village of women with their own point of view on life. In Aamala, the filmmaker juxtaposes her American cultural background with the Nepali women of her age.

  • Abhimanyu's Face
    Year 2001  
    Length 27'  
    Directed by
    Ranjan Palit
    Language
    Bengali

    ambhir Singh is a seventy-five-year-old Chhav performer and a legend on his own right. He and his son Parsurah share an obsession with the story of Abhimanyu from the epic Mahabharata and Abhimanyu’s art of entering a chakravyuha.

  • After Sunset... A Doumentary
    Year 2001  
    Length 40'  
    Directed by
    Naheed Khilji,Tahir Khilji
    Language
    English,Urdu

    Pakistan is termed by some as a high-risk low prevalence country in the context of HIV/AIDS. However, the behaviour patterns of high-risk groups are telling a different story. A sexually active population is innovating all the time

  • All the World's My Stage: Indian Writers Abroad
    Year 2001  
    Length 25'  
    Directed by
    Farah Deba
    Language
    English

    The South Asian Diaspora has come of age. Be it software engineers in the Silicon Valley or the masala restaurants all over the world. The film documentary looks at Indian writers in New York. Why are they in New York and why not in India?

  • Amader Chelera (Our Boys)
    Year 2000  
    Length 42'  
    Directed by
    Manzare Hassin
    Language
    Bengali,English

    Winds of change are sweeping through Bangladesh. The West has an irresistible attraction and the East refuses to disappear. In these confusing times, boys from a pop group and a young artist from the newly emerging upper middle class families of Dhaka...

  • Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician's Life in Peshawar, Pakistan
    Year 1985  
    Length 52'  
    Directed by
    John Baily
    Language
    Afghan,Pashto,Persian

    Amir, shot during the height of the Afghan civil war in the 1980s, investigates and portrays the life of Afghan refugees living in and around the city of Peshawar in northern Pakistan through the experiences of the musician Amir.

  • Annya Anubhab (Perception - The Other Canvas)
    Year 1999  
    Length 54'  
    Directed by
    Fauzia Khan
    Language
    Begnali

    Perception – The Other Canvas is based on the lives and works of six renowned female painters of Bangladesh. The gender experience is reflected somehow or other in the works of the women artists. The artists talk about their upbringing, their efforts to become artists and their inspiration...

  • Between the Lines
    Year 2000  
    Length 11'  
    Directed by
    Dr. Parvez Imam
    Language
    Bengali,English,Hindi

    n the year 2000, Delhi has been witnessing large-scale arrests of people apparently identified as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living in Delhi. Many have been in detention facilities for months. Others have been deported back to Bangladesh.

  • Born at Home
    Year 2000  
    Length 60'  
    Directed by
    Sameera Jain
    Language
    English,Hindi,Other Languages

    Born at Home observes indigenous birth practices in parts of India. Poised between social reality and the eternal mystery of childbearing, the film presents an intricate delineation of the figure of the dai (midwife) who is almost always a low-caste, poor woman.

  • Closed-door-and-stuff-inside-the-magazine Syndrome
    Year 2001  
    Length 38'  
    Directed by
    Altaf Mazid
    Language
    Assamese

    Saurav Kumar Chaliha is a nameless and faceless yet highly honoured writer of Assam. He does not remain content with the pen name alone, but does not reveal his identity to the public. For nearly six decades, he has existed only through his writings in short stories, plays, anthologies and translations, radio talks, photographs and interviews...

  • Colours Black
    Year 2001  
    Length 30'  
    Directed by
    Mamta Murthy
    Language
    English,Hindi

    Colours Black is an attempt to break the silences around child sexual abuse within the family and make the children’s voices heard. The film is structured around four narratives from their point of view. Children’s world of colour, rhyme, toys, games fantasy and bedtime stories are the basic ingredients of the narratives

  • Cricket Lives in Lahore
    Year 2000  
    Length 13'  
    Directed by
    Farjad Nabi
    Language
    Punjabi,Urdu

    Cricket today has become the religion of South Asia. Be it in the boardrooms of Bombay or Karachi, or the by-lanes of Dhaka or Colombo, cricket is passionately followed. Cricket Lives in Lahore is a description of the rough world of street cricket in Lahore.

  • Dui Paatan Ke Beech Mein (Between the Devil and the Deep River)
    Year 1999  
    Length 65'  
    Directed by
    Arvind Sinha
    Language
    Hindi

    Man-made floods have devastated Bihar. Gross violations of human rights are taking place. However, an all-powerful politician-bureaucrat-engineer-contractor-criminal nexus ignores the helpless poor. Between the Devil and the Deep River talks about development models chosen...

  • Festival of Spring
    Year 1995  
    Length 29'  
    Directed by
    Samina Aslam
    Language
    Urdu

    As the kite flying festival in spring gets more popular by the year some Muslim religious groups start a campaign denouncing it as a Hindu ritual. The director tries to dispel this impression.

  • Freedom!
    Year 2001  
    Length 60'  
    Directed by
    Amar Kanwar
    Language
    English

    Freedom! travels to chronicle people’s response to mega-government projects designed for ‘higher’ gains. The film travels around India meeting people and hearing their reaction to these huge projects that are often implemented without taking the people of the area into confidence.

  • Guhya
    Year 2000  
    Length 55'  
    Directed by
    Kirtana Kumar
    Language
    English

    Guhya is about a journey and a search for different truths. Historically speaking, mother-goddesses date back to Harappa, and pre-Vedic societies that were matriarchal and pastoral or agrarian. However, despite the general devolution of such systems, a patriarchy exists in India.

  • Highway to Hell
    Year 2000  
    Length 38'  
    Directed by
    Meera Dewan
    Language
    English,Hindi,Nepali

    What started as the hope of earning an honest living for themselves & their families, beings only deceipt, despair & even death to innocent young Nepali girls smuggled into India for forced sexual slavery. The pleasures and profits go to their exploiters, all along their journey to hell & back.

  • In Search of Meera's Buddha
    Year 2000  
    Length 29'  
    Directed by
    Murad Ali
    Language
    English

    The Bronze Buddha was the largest image ever conceived by Meera Mukherjee, one of India’s greatest sculptors, who passed away in 1998. It became the last milestone in her journey towards realising her deepest aspirations. Meera travelled to monasteries in Ladakh, Spiti and Japan, seeking an answer to her questions...

  • Third Prize 2001
    Jari Mari: Of Cloth and Other Stories
    Year 2001  
    Length 74'  
    Directed by
    Surabhi Sharma
    Language
    Hindi

    Jari Mari is a film on of a sprawling slum colony adjacent to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Its narrow lanes house hundreds of small sweatshops where women and men work, without the right to organise.

  • Kanavu (The Dream)
    Year 2001  
    Length 35'  
    Directed by
    C. Saratchandran
    Language
    Malayalam

    In a small community in the Wynad District of Kerala, tribal children live together and learn skills for their livelihood. However, the skills that children learn need not be conventional and history and geography need not be of faraway places children cannot often relate to. Kanavu looks at an alternative form of schooling in a hostel in Kerala where children have fun while learning...

  • Kayidha Poo (Paper Flowers)
    Year 1999  
    Length 25'  
    Directed by
    Rajiv Krishnan
    Language
    Tamil

    Paper Flowers is about a group of eunuchs living in Mumbai. The eunuchs talk about themselves, their dreams and aspirations. It also looks at their relationships with each other and their perceived role in society, as seen through their own eyes.

  • King for a Day
    Year 2001  
    Length Not listed
    Directed by
    Alex Gabbay
    Language
    Bengali,English

    When President William J. Clinton agreed to visit Bangladesh in March 2000, his security team began preparations for his visit. At the same time, the Bangladeshi government began its own preparations. Roads and houses were renovated, flags and trees planted in what was to be the biggest clean-up operation...

  • Jury Award 2001
    King of Dreams
    Year 2001  
    Length Not listed
    Directed by
    Amar Kanwar
    Language
    English

    How many fantasies does a man have in his lifetime about sexual union? How important is it for him to penetrate another human being and how often do dreams substitute the act itself? Moreover, what does this have to do with power and its perpetuation, with culture and clothes, jobs, trucks football and festivals?

  • Machher Banga (Bengalis in the World of Fish)
    Year 2001  
    Length 2  29'  
    Directed by
    Nilanjan Bhattacharya
    Language
    Bengali

    After fifty years of Constitutional Directive, elementary education still remains to be recognized as a fundamental human right in India and a lot of Indians are still illiterate. At the same time, formal education stands for social progress and empowerment. The film looks at the educational scenario in the state of Maharashtra....

  • Mala bi Shalela Yeu Dya Ki (Let Me Also Come to School)
    Year 2000  
    Length 56'  
    Directed by
    Simantini Dhuru
    Language
    56'

    After fifty years of Constitutional Directive, elementary education still remains to be recognised as a fundamental human right in India and a lot of Indians are still illiterate. At the same time, formal education stands for social progress and empowerment. The film looks at the eductional scenario in the state of Maharashtra...

  • Michael Jackson Comes to Manikganj
    Year 2001  
    Length 57'  
    Directed by
    Nupur Basu
    Language
    English

    Michael Jackson Comes to Manikganj is filmed in different regions of South Asia. From Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan to Kandy in Sri Lanka and in remote villages of Bangladesh and Nepal, the film covers the impact of satellite television on the lives, cultures and politics of the people over the last ten years

  • Ram Bahadur Trophy For Best Film
    My Migrant Soul
    Year 2000  
    Length 35'  
    Directed by
    Yasmine Kabir
    Language
    Bengali

    “If I live, I’ll write the history of my travels in Malaysia...I’ll write a poem about it,” said Shahjahan Babu, before leaving Bangladesh. A young man, full of hope, left for Malaysia in search of a better life, but Babu quickly found out that his status had been reduced to that of a slave...

  • Naheed Ki Katha (Naheed's Story)
    Year 2001  
    Length 20'  
    Directed by
    Beena Sarwar
    Language
    English,Urdu

    Naheed Siddiqui, Pakistan's foremost exponent of the classical dances form Kathak was banned from dancing in Pakistan in 1978. Since then she has struggled to bring the Kathak dance back onto the cultural agenda.

  • Nanga Jenu, Nanga Karadi, Nanga Ajja (The Bee, the Bear and the Kuruba)
    Year 2000  
    Length 63'  
    Directed by
    Vinod Raja
    Language
    Kannada

    The Kurubas are the original inhaitants of the forests of Nagarahole and Kakanakote in the Western Ghats. Forcible eviction of the Kurubas started in the early 70s. They were driven out of their ancestral lands deep in the forest and forced to live on the roadside or on the plantations on the periphery...

  • Pakistan and India Under the Nuclear Shadow
    Year 2001  
    Length 32'  
    Directed by
    Pervez Hoodbhoy
    Language
    English,Urdu

    Pakistan and India Under the Nuclear Shadow considers the nuclear situation in South Asia after the May 1998 tests and addresses key issues such as: “Where is the bomb and missile race heading? Is minimal deterrence achievable?”

  • Ramlila
    Year 2000  
    Length 28'  
    Directed by
    Ananth Sridhar,Sanjay Pande,Subhash Kapoor
    Language
    Hindi

    For Many in India, Ramlila is an intrinsic part of childhood as the story of Ramayana unfolds amidst the chaos and the flashes from Rama's life, his childhood, his marriage, the war and many such exciting sequences in performances staged in local communities.

  • Saacha (The Loom)
    Year 2001  
    Length 45'  
    Directed by
    Anjali Monteiro,K P Jayasankar
    Language
    English,Marathi

    Saacha is the story of a poet, a painter and a city. The poet is Narayan Surve, the painter Sudhir Patwardhan and the city Bombay, the birthplace of the Indian textile industry and the industrial working class, where both artists have been a part of the left cultural movement in the city. W\

  • Scribble on Akka
    Year 2000  
    Length 60'  
    Directed by
    Madhushree Dutta
    Language
    English,Hindi,Kannada

    Scribbles on Akka is a film on the life and works of the 12th-century saint poet Mahadevi Akka. Her radical poems, written with the female body as a metaphor, have been composed and pictured in contemporary musical language. Mahadevi, famed as Akka’s elder sister, has also abandoned clothing, while leaving the domestic arena in search of God.

  • She Wants to Talk to You
    Year 2001  
    Length 28'  
    Directed by
    Anita Chang
    Language
    English

    She Wants to Talk to You is a recording of three 13-year-old Nepali girls on what it means to be a girl, marriage, friendship, God. Their views inspire three Nepali women living in the United States to reflect on their personal quests and struggle for freedom.

  • Shere Punjab
    Year 2001  
    Length 12'  
    Directed by
    Rahul Das
    Language
    Hindi,Punjabi

    National Highway no. 8 is one of the main throughways that link Ahmedabad with the rest of India. Trucks ply day and night on it, carrying goods to and from places as far off as Bombay, Bangalore and Punjab. Along the highway are cheap hotels called dhabas, where these truck-drivers halt, get refreshed and move on.

  • Sunrise Radio
    Year 2001  
    Length 17'  
    Directed by
    Shai Heredia
    Language
    English,Hindi,Urdu

    By turns comic and unsettling, Sunrise Radio reflects the pulse of a South Asian community, through a 24-hour radio station based in Southall, London. The film is a visual and melodic ride through the world of DJs and listeners as they come together to celebrate the spring festival of Vaisakhi.

  • Tahder Juddha (Their War)
    Year 2001  
    Length 50'  
    Directed by
    Afsan Chowdhury,Aka Reza Ghalit
    Language
    Bengali

    The end of the 1971 war for independence did not mean the end of struggle for those who participated in the war. Women in particular suffered tremendously. Many were widowed in the war and had to raise their families on their own. These stories however did not find their place in history books or documentaries.

  • The Art of the Impossible: A Portrait of VP Singh
    Year 2000  
    Length 45'  
    Directed by
    Juliet Reynolds
    Language
    English,Hindi

    The Art of the Impossible is ‘a warts and all portrait’ of Vishwanath Pratap Singh, the seventh Prime Minister of India, set against the canvas of his colourful, often dramatic story: his rebellion against his feudal origins, his support for the Indira Gandhi and the Emergency, at war against Rajiv, crusade against corruption...

  • The Great Indian Yatra
    Year 2000  
    Length 50'  
    Directed by
    Shweta Kishore,Yask Desai
    Language
    English,Hindi

    In Agra, tourism fails to provide adequate income for the vast majority of those employed in the tourist sector. In Goa, there is a lack of meaningful exchange and interaction between the foreign tourist community and the host population.

  • The Killing Terraces
    Year 2001  
    Length 46'  
    Directed by
    Dhurba Basnet
    Language
    Nepali

    Since February 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been waging a violent struggle in a bid to capture state power in Nepal. From its humble beginnings in five districts, the insurgency has spread all over the country and has now become the foremost challenge facing the state.

  • The Play is On...
    Year 2001  
    Length 52'  
    Directed by
    Pankaj Rishi Kumar
    Language
    Hindi,Kashmiri

    Set against the mindless war with Pakistan and India, Kashmiri artists try to mould themselves into the shape society has taken. The Play Is On... is a document of the journeys of the Bhands, folk exponents of the satirical theatre form, the Pather, while struggling to survive their war-stricken province.

  • The Quest for Peace in Nagaland
    Year 2001  
    Length 33'  
    Directed by
    Loveena Tandon
    Language
    English

    The Quest for Peace in Nagaland is a two-part series made for television. It attempts to explain the origins of the Naga conflict and the various peace attempts to start a dialogue with the Nagas – official and unofficial.

  • Turf Wars: Conservations Claims in the Great Himalaya National park
    Year 2001  
    Length 41'  
    Directed by
    Sanjay Barnela,Vasant Saberwal
    Language
    English,Hindi

    In 1999, the Great Himalaya National Park in the Kullu Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh, was brought under the regulations of the India Wildlife Protection Act. As a result, local rights to graze animals and extract medicinal herbs within the borders of the national park were severed...

  • Two Assassinations and an Accident
    Year 2000  
    Length 25'  
    Directed by
    Kabir Khan
    Language
    English

    Two Assassinations and an Accident tries to capture the drama of the five tumultuous years that changed the history of India. Narrated by key players from that era, the films opens with the imposition of the Emergency in 1975....

  • We Have the Same Kind of Blood
    Year 2001  
    Length 41'  
    Directed by
    Berit Madsen
    Language
    Nepali

    Shot in western Nepal this film is a close portrait of the daily life of Dalit or “untouchables”, in a small mountain village in west Nepal. Several Dalit castes – Kami, Damai, Sunar, Bhul among others – as well as some Thakuri upper-caste households inhabit the village. The film is an experience of the relationship between lower and upper castes...

  • We Homes Chaps
    Year 2001  
    Length 65'  
    Directed by
    Kesang Tseten
    Language
    English

    In 1900 a visionary Scottish Presbyterian founded a school in the Himalayas for destitute Anglo-Indian children, many abandoned and outcastes from both their father’s and mother’s societies. In time, the school took in children from other marginal communities including Nepali, Sikkimese, Khasi, Naga and Tibetan.

  • Where RU on ICQ?
    Year 2001  
    Length 6'  
    Directed by
    Avinash Roy
    Language
    English

    Where RU on ICQ? is a documentary film on internet chatting. The fact that people are spending hours on the net, and chatting with complete strangers is an interesting aspect of this new culture that forces us to pose a few basic questions. Have we as human being become more receptive and understanding, or is this obsession merely a means to give vent to our own subconscious desires and sexual frustrations?

  • Yeh Hui Na Mardon Wali Baat (Now That's More Like a Man)
    Year 2000  
    Length 35'  
    Directed by
    Farjad Nabi,Mazhar Zaidi
    Language
    Urdu

    Yeh Hui Na Mardon Wali Baat relies upon popular clichés and provides the space for constructing the social image of men, real and imaged, as women give form to men through their words. In the background, a group of children play endlessly- the game of life and gender.