Naach _ Saba DewanWhat:  ’Framing Culture’, Documentary screenings in Mumbai

Organizer: The FD Zone, Films Division, Mumbai

Program: Curatorial note:

Looking for the dichotomy of the sacred and the profane in culture is a way of flattening many contours, overlaps, repetitions and synapses of cultural lives as they are lived. This week we present two films that look at performative traditions, the first is linked to religious beliefs and the other is set in a market fair. Both are set in the same expansive cultural landscape. The filmmakers, through their films, chart out very different journeys as archivists of cultural practices. It would be valuable to see these two films as documents of overlapping cultural expressions rather than as two instances of cultural practices in opposition to one another.


Dir – Balwant Gargi/Produced by Films Division/18mins/1978

Ramlila of Ramnagar is a film on the famous tradition of the performance of the Ram Lila on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi under the patronage of the Maharaja. The performance spreads over the entire village of Ramnagar with multiple performance areas. The filmmaker, Balwant Gargi, emphasises the unchanging nature of tradition, the unbroken link with ancient religious beliefs. The actors and the audience are opaque, the stage is set for the grandeur of the performance.


Dir – Saba Dewan/ 84mins /2008

The Sonpur cattle fair in rural Bihar comes alive every evening then more than 50 girls take to the stage and dance for an all-male audience. Originally part of the nautanki, the dance of the female performer today has become a replay of Bombay films and music videos that span rural and metropolitan landscape. It is a performance charged with sexual energy. What meanings related to contemporary construction and practice of gender, sexuality, labour and popular culture can we read in the dance of the female performer?

Venue: RR Theatre, 10th Floor, Films Division, Pedder Road (Opposite Jaslok Hospital), Mumbai

Date: Saturday 9th November, 2013

Time: 4 pm

Entry: Free/Open to all