“We are often called ‘Negroes’…people shout, “Hey darkie! Come here.” Settled mainly on the west coast of India, the Sidi are a small community, who migrated from East Africa about 800 years ago. Centuries of discrimination and indifference have pushed them down the socio-economic ladder, but their unique devotional music, in praise of the Sufi saints, has given them a strong sense of identity and stability. All the World’s a Stage weaves together the lives and aspirations of group of laymen (shopkeepers, drivers, carpenters, masons) who make up an internationally successful performance group called the Sidi Goma. As they climb up the popularity charts, they find themselves at a crossroads, where they must expand their repertoire or else fall into the trap of repeating themselves. Myriad questions arise: Is it time they allowed their women on stage? How does the younger generation relate to tradition? Do the Sidi belong in India at all?
[director]Nirmal Chander has been an editor and associate director for the last 10 years. His areas of interest are sports, fiction, shorts and feature, documentaries and television programmes. From 2004 to 2007, he worked with Ten Sports, Dubai, as a senior promo producer. [/director]