Thursday, February 22, 2007

24 Feb :"Jeevika" documentary screening


Screening winning entries from 2003-2006

Date: 24th February, 2007

Time: 3:00 – 5:30 p.m

Venue: SOMA Store, Colaba
( Next to Y.M.C.A, diagonally opp N.G.M.A)

For details, call Anindita: 9820543245; Cyrus: 9821235370; SOMA Store: 22826050


TWO PLUS PRODUCTIONS Let's change entertainment
In Association with 'SOMA'

Zoom in on a mode of living, give a voice to people's struggles and triumphs.

Capture socio-cultural norms or legal-regulatory barriers that prevent people working in the vocation of their choice.

"What's the democracy doing? It takes 90 days to set up a business in India. A small business is not even setting up a complex shop- it's like somebody wants to be a rickshaw puller or someone wants to sell something on the road. A coolie's badge is selling at a premium of 3 lacs nowadays…you keep seeing archaic laws where the demand is far outstripping the laws…I have this memorable phrase (which I rob from a speech) "Review, Revise and Remove". ~ Rahul Bose speaking at the inaugural ceremony at Jeevika 2004

For film ideas, entry form & guidelines, visit

To take part in the 2007 competition, contact Nidhi at

Last date for entries 31st May, 2007.


K-36 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110016, India

Phone: 91-11-2653 7456/ 2652 1882/ 2651 2347;


Synopsis of documentaries to be screened:

1) Tales of the night fairies

Five sex workers-four women and a man embark on a journey of storytelling. The film explores the power of collective organising and resistance while reflecting upon contemporary debates around sex work. The simultaneously expansive and labyrinthine city of Calcutta forms the backdrop for the personal and musical journeys of storytelling.

The film attempts to represent the struggles and aspirations of thousands of sex workers who constitute the DMSC, an initiative that emerged from the Shonagachi HIV/AIDS Intervention Project. A collective of men, women and transgender sex workers, DMSC demands decriminalisation of adult sex work and the right to form a trade union.

2) Zarina

(Zarina / Urdu / Eng ST / 22 minutes / DVCam / 2004 / Dir: Suhail Bukhari and Piyush Pushpak / College of Media & Communication, Rai University, Delhi/ India)

Zarina is a film on the dying art of Mujra. The film recreates the golden era of Mujra, which has now eclipsed amidst the glamour and glitz of modern day entertainment. The contributions of the tawaif (nautch girl) to art and culture has rarely been perceived in positive light in a society mired in dubious puritanical standards. The film aims at changing popular and often simplistic, stereotyped misconceptions held by the society as well as an establishment that has failed to accept tawaifs as artists.The film also reflects upon how this art was socially accepted in the era of nawabs but the changing socio-economic and religious conditions made the common folk indifferent to it, leading to a much mistaken notion about its identity.

This film chronicles the story of Zarina, a 'tawaif' and her struggle to eke her meager livelihood. Zarina stands for many others like her who have lost their bread and butter to the music of the changing times.

3) One Show Less

(Hindi/19 minutes/MiniDV/2005/Dir: Nayantara C Kotian/National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad/ India)

One Show Less is about the increasing numbers of single screen cinemas that are shutting down all over the country. The film focuses on one theatre, Usha Talkies, whose spirited employees and raucous, seat-breaking public make it one of a kind. As the ticket seller puts it, this cinema is meant for the masses- if this theatre shuts down as well, the question raised is 'are the masses to be deprived of the incomparable experience of watching cinema on the big screen?' Through a series of evocative arguments put forth by the employees of Usha Talkies, a vivid portrait is painted of a unique way of life which might soon become extinct.

It makes its points with sophistication and avoids the pitfalls of documentary. Most importantly, it takes a human look at an institution that has survived at the edges of polite societies, familiar but unknown: the cinema of the poor.

4) Turf Wars

In 1999, the Great Himalayan National Park(GHNP), in the Kullu Valley of the state of Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, was finally notified and brought under the regulations of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act. As a result, the rights of the locals to graze animals and extract medicinal herbs within the national park were terminated. Simultaneously, however, a part of the park was deleted from the originally demarcated boundaries of the park to enable the construction of a hydro-electric power project. 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 biodiversity must make way for national development.

Turf Wars engages in a number of debates about conservation. It is an open minded film, one that aims to provoke discussion rather than provide answers to problems that are inevitably complex, contested and heavily politicised.

5) Pretty Dyana

(Pretty Dyana/ Serbia /DV/45 minutes/2003/Dir: Boris Mitic/Serbia)

An intimate look at gypsy refugees in a Belgrade suburb who make a living by transforming Citroen's classic 2cv and Dyana cars into Mad-Max-like recycling vehicles, which they use to collect cardboard, bottles and scrap metal. These modern horses are much more efficient than the cart- pushing competition, but even more important – they also mean freedom, hope and style for their crafty owners. Even the car batteries are used as power generators in order to get some light, watch TV and recharge mobiles! Almost an alchemist's dream come true! But the police doesn't always find these strange vehicles funny…

6) In Search of a Job

(In Search of a Job/ English /Beta/ 14 minutes/2005/Dir: Mrinal Talukdar/ India)

Assam has long tradition of domestic elephants used in the logging business for centuries. Unlike other parts of India, even middle class people used to keep domestic elephants like their family members. There are still 1200 of them. The 1997 Supreme Court order of banning all sorts of felling of trees has changed the whole scenario. Overnight these elephants and their mahouts have become jobless. All others involved in the timber business have changed their livelihood, but not the elephant and mahouts. Desperate attempt to sell them or transfer to Kerala and Rajasthan where there is a demand of elephants for tourism and religious purpose is not plausible because of a law that does not allow transfer or sale of animals like elephants. So these 1200 elephants are in search of job. They are in search for an honest livelihood.

7) Treacling Down

(Treacling Down/Sinhalese/14 minutes/2005/Dir: Upali Gamlath/Sri Lanka)

The remote village "Meemure" is surrounded by a range of mountains and is famous for the production of jaggery. This village still retains old cultural habits and is largely self sufficient, but its excess production is sold after a tiresome and long journey from the village. Highly commercialised towns bag the produce of the village for a mere pittance and the products are then sold in luxury supermarkets at exorbitant prices. This production attempts to generate empathy for the Meemure villager. The film shows the villagers tapping the " Kithul tree" to make jaggery and the bees, wasps and butterflies collecting nectar from flowers. The bee does a lot of work, but an outsider reaps the benefit. The bee gets no honey. The bee and the Kithul taper suffer the same fate.

8) Aamchi Kasauti

(Aamchi Kasauti/ Hindi-Marathi/ 12 minutes/ DV Format/2005/ Dir:Rrivu Laha / Film and Television Institute of India, Pune)

Dawn breaks in the city of Pune….Sita, Shewanta, Kaushalya are seen dusting the streets around the town. What could they be possibly looking or? They are a rare breed of traders. They scavenge dust from day break to dusk and take their harvest at the end of the day to the gold traders who mark it against a kasauti or a testing stone to evaluate the harvest. The film is their story-Aamchi Kasauti, which literally means 'our test.'

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