Films for Sale

These are the films that are currently available at Clearinghouse of South Asian Non-Fiction Film.

1. Ajit
Dir: Arvind Sinha
India, 1996, 28 min
This film articulates the failure of the Indian system to provide the basics of life to a large majority of the Indian people with the example of Ajit, an eight-year-old domestic in a Calcutta household, who is one of a family of the nine children. At another level, the film takes up the issue of unrestrained consumerism in the upper classes and mirrors these two extremities.

2. Between the Devil and the Deep River
Dir: Arvind Sinha
India, 1999, 65 min
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 by the powers that be: models that have destroyed the livelihood of tens of millions of people in this sprawling and populous state of Bihar.

3. Born At Home
Dir: Sameera Jain
India, 2000, 60 min
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. The dai’s methods are holistic, conceiving of childbirth not as pathology but continuation of organic life. Gender and class issues are juxtaposed with the filming of the miracle of an actual birth. Mind-body, earth-cosmos become one unified whole when, negotiating the nether world of pain and labour, a new life thrusts it way up. The dai’s hands are experienced and empathic as she guides the process.

4. Duhshomoy (A Mother’s Lament)
Dir: Yasmine Kabir
Bangladesh, 1999, 26 min
Rather than presenting the story of Shima Choudhury as an investigative piece, the video attempts to explore the issue from a personal perspective – the sense of disempowerment and hopelessness the family undergoes as it struggles to cope with the girl’s incarceration leading to her death.

5. The Elusive Mountain – GYA
Dir: Sanjay Barnela and Vasant Saberwal
India, 1998, 24 min
In 1997, in celebration of India’s 50th year of independence, climbers from several South Asian countries, set out to climb Mt. Gya, on the Indo-Tibetan border. At 22,400 feet, Gya was still unclimbed, despite several earlier attempts. The Elusive Mountain – Gya documents this historic climb. With footage from the summit at over 22,000 feet, the film represents a landmark in Indian mountaineering films.

6. Famine in the Far West
Dir: Mohan Mainali
Nepal, 2003, 25 min
The government and the Maoists have both restricted the import of food and other items of daily necessity in areas affected by the ongoing conflict in Nepal. Food scarcity is a perpetual condition in mountain regions that have always had to import food from elsewhere. The far-western district of Bajura is one such district. And this time the crops too have failed, and seeds and fertiliser are not available for the next sowing. But, villagers are still being forced to feed the Maoists. Unless the situation changes for the better, Bajura is going to be hit by a famine in the near future.

7. History for Winners – Itihaas Jitne Haroo Ka Lagi
Dir: Pranay Limbu
Nepal, 2003, 67 min
An award-winning singer makes a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to make a comeback after being in musical hibernation for seven years. Itihaas Jitneharuka Laagi portrays the changes in the Nepali music scene, as represented by Kuber Rai and Dheeraj Rai. The two singers are a study in contrasts, with their diametrically opposing personalities and attitude towards music. The film invokes a Nepali adage “bolne ko pitho bikcha, na bolne ko chaamal pani bikdaina”, which suggests that to succeed one has to be a good salesman.

8. Jari Mari: Of Cloth and Other Stories
Dir: Surabhi Sharma/Jabeen Merchant
India, 2001, 74 min
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. Their existence is on the borderline of the law; the airport authorities can at any time demolish their illegal dwellings, and jobs have to be found every day, from workshop to workshop. This film explores the lives of the people of Jari Mari, and records the many changes in the nature and organisation of Mumbai’s workforce over the past two decade.

9. The Killing Terraces
Dir: Dhurba Basnet
Nepal, 2001, 62 min
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. In early 2001, the filmmaker accompanied a group of journalists on a journey to Rolpa, Rukum and Jajarkot, three districts in far-western Nepal that make up the stronghold of the Maoists. Using footage shot over 26 days in the tough mountainous terrain of the region, the film attempts to understand the causes underlying the rise of the Maoists, and its effect on the local population.

10. King for a Day
Dir: Alex Gabbay
Bangladesh, 2001, 33 min
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 in the country since Independence. King for a Day is the diary of a more cynical journalist, determined to find out what the common man feels about the visit.

11. The Living of Jogimara
Dir: Mohan Mainali
Nepal, 2002, 38 min
In early 2002, 17 construction workers from Jogimara, Dhading were killed by the Nepali army while building a runway in another district, Kalikot. They were branded ‘terrorists’ by the state, and their families did not get their dead bodies or any compensation. Some families have conducted last rites for their loved one; others wait, hoping their relatives will return.

12. My Migrant Soul
Dir: Yasmine Kabir
Bangladesh, 2000, 35 min
“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, with long working hours, subsistence wages and no way out. In a posthumous account left behind for the world, Babu recounts his plight as a migrant worker. Audiotapes, sent home to his family, are a record of one man’s hopes, disillusions, and fears. My Migrant Soul is about dreams that crumble into despair.

13. Pastoral Politics
Dir: Sanjay Barnela and Vasant Saberwal
India, 1996, 29 min
This is a film on the sheep-herding Gaddi community of the North Indian Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. It puts forward an ecological debate on the issue of traditional Gaddi grazing practices vis-à-vis deforestation.

14. A Rough Cut in the Life and Times of Lachuman Magar
Dir: Dinesh Deokota
Nepal, 2001, 39 min
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.

15. Saacha – The Loom
Dir: Anjali Moteiro and K. P. Jayasankar
India, 2001, 45 min
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. Weaving together poetry and paintings with accounts of the artists and a visual ‘ethnography’ of the city, the film explores the modes and politics of representation, the relevance of art in the contemporary social milieu, the decline of the urban working class in an age of structural adjustment, the dilemmas of the left and the trade union movement and the changing face of a huge metropolis.

16. Schools in the Crossfire
Dir: Dhurba Basnet
Nepal, 2004, 52 min
Schools in Nepal have been an easy target of the Maoists and the state. As they live in the remote corner of the country, the government suspects them of being on the Maoists side while the Maoists accuse them of being a state spy. The film deals with the impact of the war on schools, teachers and students.

17. Search for Freedom – A story about four Afghani Women
Dir: Munizae Jahangir
Afganistan/Pakistan, 2002, 50 min
The film is about four Afghani women, one a progressive liberal princess before the Mujahiddin era; the other the first female singer of Afghanistan; the third a peasant; and the fourth a young urban aspiring doctor. It tells the stories of the strength, the courage and the opression of the Afghani women and their love for their country.

18. Six ‘Stories’
Dir: Mohan Mainali
Nepal, 2004, 43 min
Over 10,000 Nepalis have lost their lives after the Maoists launched their violent revolt in early 1996. It may take years for many families that have lost members to overcome their loss. This is the story of six such families of far west Nepal. Three of them were killed by the Maoists and rest were killed by the security forces. None of the dead were combatants.

19. Skin Deep
Dir: Reena Mohan
India, 1998, 83 min
The film traces the dynamics of the eternal search for the ideal femininity and how it permeates the self-image of contemporary women. Shot in the form of a docu-feature, it recreates interviews with various women into six first person narratives about body images and self-perception.

20. A Sun Sets In
Dir: Shahid Nadeem
Pakistan, 1999, 45 min
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.

21. Thin Air
Dir: Ashim Ahluwalia
India, 1999, 42 min
Thin Air chronicles the lives of three magicians against the backdrop of contemporary Bombay and offers a refreshingly complex vision of urban life through three illusionists who have little option but to confront reality.

22. Turf Wars
Dir: Sanjay Barnela and Vasant Saberwal
India, 2001, 41 min
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. Simultaneously, a part of the park was deleted from the originally demarcated boundaries to enable the construction of a hydroelectric power plant. Turf Wars explores the contradictions that seem to characterize the government’s policies towards conservation, wherein local livelihoods are expendable in the interests of biodiversity, but industry is not.

23. Uhile Ko Nepal
Dir: Toni Hagen
Nepal, 1950, 47 min
Arriving in Nepal in 1950, Toni Hagen was the first foreigner to trek throughout Nepal, a country hitherto forbidden and quite unknown to the outside world. This was in the course of the geological survey and mapping that the Swiss geologist undertook first in behalf of Nepal and, later, of the United Nations.

24. Ujan Beye-Across The Tide
Dir: Nirmalya Bondopadhyay
India, 2002, 58 min
There have always been people in every society who have dedicated their lives to bring about positive change. They have worked to fight injustice and inequality, and protect society from the repression of states. The mass killing—an instance of state terrorism—in Baranagar-Cossipur (located on the northern fringes of Calcutta) is a graphic example of this kind of situation. This documentary contains testimonies of the victims and people of the area, and attempts to inscribe the episode in the history available to the younger generation.

25. We have the same kind of blood
Dir: Berit Madsen
Nepal, 2001, 41 min
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 and their reflections on the caste system. Why are there separate water taps for upper and lower castes? Why are the Dalit forbidden accesses to temples? As the film progresses, we get an understanding of the influence of the religious cosmology upon caste behaviour and the daily life as such.

For more information on films available and prices, please contact NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati at +977 1 5552141 or email fsa@filmsouthasia.org