When: 28 September 2019, 14:00 — 16:55
Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square, CINEMA
FREE, Book your place here
Jai Bhim Comrade
Director: Anand Patwardhan
Country of production: India
Runtime: 169 mins
Language: Marathi & Hindi (with English subtitles)
Format: Digital File
In 1997, in Mumbai, police opened fire on a crowd of Dalits, gathered to protest the desecration of a statue of B.R. Ambedkar (a key symbol of Dalits), killing and injuring more than 30 people. Shortly after the incident, prominent Dalit poet and activist, Vilas Ghogre, commits suicide in revolt. Anand Patwardhan’s landmark documentary, shot over 14 years, is a complex and layered investigative work that unpacks the deeply embedded caste discrimination at the heart of Indian society while exploring the rich poetry and music of Dalit resistance. The film’s title is a reference to a greeting used by Dalits as a form of solidarity.
This session is part of On the Edge of the Fold
Coined by the 19th century Indian social activist and thinker, Jyotiba Phule, the Marathi word Dalit (meaning crushed, broken) is a descriptor for people who were considered untouchables by the Hindu caste system. This term then took on a more progressive and political term from the early 20th century with social reformer Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, at the height of the Indian nationalist movement, as a form of solidarity against caste oppression and colonialism. In India today, discrimination against Dalits is still a very pertinent issue, especially when observed in tandem with the rise of extreme right-wing Hinduism. Unequal opportunities in work and education, violence, abuse and denial of basic human rights plague these communities all through the country. Furthermore, Dalit experiences and narratives are generally either excluded or portrayed in an unfavorable light in mainstream media. However, the democratisation of digital technology and means of production in the past two decades have seen an increase and proliferation of literature and films that document Dalit experiences, opening up spaces for Dalit narratives to take root and thrive. On the Edge of the Fold is a programme of films made by independent voices, representing a diversity of approaches, topics and stories from Dalit India.
Curated by Viknesh Kobinathan as part of the Masters degree in Film Studies Programming & Curation at the National Film & Television School