Film southasia

"Festival of southasian documentries"

The Other Song

Directed by Saba Dewan | |

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Synopsis

In 1935, Rasoolan Bai the well-known singer from Varanasi, recorded for the gramophone a love song that she would never sing again, ‘My breasts are wounded, don’t throw flowers at me.’ A variation of her more famous song, ‘My heart is wounded, don’t throw flowers at me’, the 1935 recording, never to be repeated, faded from public memory and eventually got lost. More than 70 years later the film travels through Varanasi and its neighbouring areas to search for the forgotten song. This journey opens a Pandora’s box of life stories, memories, half remembered songs and histories that for long have been banished into oblivion. It brings the film face to face with the enigmatic tawaifs or the courtesans who till a century back were amongst the most educated and privileged of Indian women. Today they stand recast as deviant, their arts, obscene; their story and that of the lost song linked to the making of modern India and the transitions around the control and censorship of female sexualities and cultural expression.

[director]SabaDewan did her masters in film and TV production from the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 1987 and since then has been making independent documentaries. Her work has focused on gender, sexuality and culture. Her notable films include Dharmayuddha (Holy War, 1989), Barf (Snow, 1994) and Sita’s Family (2001) and have been screened extensively in India and in international film festivals. For the past few years she has been working on a trilogy of films focusing on stigmatised women performers. Delhi – Mumbai – Delhi (2006) on the lives of bar dancers was the first film of the trilogy; the second being Naach (The Dance, 2008) that explored the lives of women who dance in rural fairs. Both the films have been screened widely and have generated critical acclaim. The third and final film of the trilogy is The Other Song (2009) about the art and lifestyle of the tawaifs.[/director]

 

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