Directed by KP Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro 2003, 45 mins. Hindi with English Subtitles Produced by the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences www.cmcs.tiss.edu Enquiries: sales.cmcs[AT]tiss.edu
Naata is about Bhau Korde and Waqar Khan, two activists and friends, who have been involved in conflict resolution, working with neighbourhood peace committees in Dharavi, Mumbai, reputedly, the largest ‘slum’ in Asia. This film explores their work, which has included the collective production and use of visual media for ethnic amity. Waqar and Bhau’s work raises several uncomfortable questions for the filmmakers, so-called modern, middle-class, secular, urban beings. Naata juxtaposes the multi-layered narrative on Dharavi and the ‘stories’ of the filmmakers, thereby attempting to foreground a critical and active viewership. Naata is the second in a series on the people and the city of Mumbai. It is a sequel to Saacha (The Loom), 2001
Listen to an audio interview with the Directors, Anjali Monteiro and KP Jayasankar on KPFA. org in San Francisco, USA, on March 22nd, 2007 (Around 43 mins). Click here: http://www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=19316
Watch the film Naata : Click below “About a friendship that conveys a moving message to an increasingly polarized city…” Times of India “Creating conflict resolution strategies through peoples’ co-operation…” Deccan Herald “As a text which draws our attention to the power that finally rests with citizens to effect a change in the lives of their communities, Naata showcases the secular energies that make Dharavi, and in turn, Bombay, a place that takes great pride in celebrating its cosmopolitan identity” Art India “A moving personalised tale of communal harmony in the Mumbai’s biggest slum, Dharavi” The Hindu “[About] Two souls on the healing side of a communal divide” Indian Express “A moving personalised tale of communal harmony…” Himal South Asian
Festival Selection: Film South Asia 2003, Kathmandu Travelling Film South Asia, 2003-4 River to River Film Festival 2003, Florence The First and the Last Experimental Film Festival 2003, Sydney World Social Forum Film Festival 2004, Mumbai Vikalp-Films For Freedom 2004, Mumbai Social Communication Cinema Conference and Festival, Kolkata, 2004 Goettingen International Film Festival 2004, Goettingen, Germany II International Visual Anthropology Festival and Conference, Moscow, 2004 Zanzibar International Film Festival 2004, Tanzania The Fourth Annual Festival of Visual Culture 2004, Joensuu, Finland 8th Ismailia International Festival for Documentary & Short Films 2003, Giza, Egypt 8th International Film Festival of Human Rights of Spain 2004 at Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, Girona and Vinaroz 7th International Festival of Documentary Film & Visual Anthropology Astra Filmfest 2004, Sibiu, Romania Platforma Video 2004, Athens, Greece Budapest HumanRights Film Festival, 2004, Hungary South Asian International Film Festival 2004, New York 3rd Forum for Visual Anthropology 2005, Geneva CRONOGRAF- International Documentary Film Festival, Chisinau, Moldova Signs 2005, Festival of Documentaries and Short Features, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 9th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film 2005, Oxford IV Festival Internacional del Documental Tres Continentes (IV Three Continents International Documentary Festival, Venezuela 2005 Ethnographic Film Festival of Montreal, Canada Telecast: YLE Finnish Television Network, Finland NDTV 24/7
Credits Voice Overs Monteiro’s voice: Shoba Ghosh Jayasankar’s voice: Anik Ghosh Technical Assistance Bharat Ahire Location Sound Harikumar M. Sound Mixing K.P. Jayasankar Harikumar M. Camera K.P. Jayasankar Script, Editing & Direction Anjali Monteiro K.P. Jayasankar Produced and distributed by Centre for Media and Cultural Studies Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai 400 088, India Telephone: +91 22 25563290 Fax: +91 22 2556 2912 E-mail: email@example.com URL: www.cmcs.tiss.edu
Distributor in USA: Documentary Educational Resources: http://www.der.org
The idea of making this film grew out of our interaction with Bhau and Waqar and their work. We felt that this story of how Waqar, Bhau and the people of Dharavi have, on their own accord, produced and used various media materials for communal amity (ranging from posters to videos and audio cassettes) had an important lesson for all of us, in these troubled times. We feel that in our present fractured world, it is crucial to share stories of hope and struggle, stories that give us the courage to go on. We also wanted to explore the language of a non-confrontational dialogue with the viewer that gently prompts him/her to look within, to reflect on personal prejudice.
As Asia’s largest slum, with a population of about 800,000, Dharavi has often been represented as a breeding ground for filth, vice and poverty, full of ‘migrants’, whose right to live in the city is often questioned by vigilante citizens’ groups and right-wing politicians. The film attempts to question these dominant representations of Dharavi in the popular imagination. Dharavi is shown as having a long history, with migration taking place from the late 19th century. It is a productive space and plays an important role in the economy of the city, as it is one of the major hubs of the informal sector that produces commodities ranging from food products to leather goods that cater to a large export market. The film pays tribute to this creativity, vitality and enterprise of Dharavi.
We felt that the sheer energy and inclusiveness of informal grass-roots initiatives for communal amity raises several uncomfortable questions for us, so-called modern, middle-class, secular, urban beings, which we need to reflect on. We thought that the film needed to move beyond a ‘feel good’ story of the impressive work being done by Bhau, Waqar and the citizens of Dharavi. Hence, in terms of the structure of the film, we have introduced an element of reflection, through ‘our’ stories which could possibly lead to a critical and active viewership. These, we thought, will be spaces for the audience to reflect on their own ‘stories’.
Reviews of Naata
Author: Smriti Srinivas a
|Affiliation:||a Department of Anthropology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, USA|
Naata (The Bond). Directors, producers, editors, writers: K. P. Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro Production Company; Unit for Media and Communication, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; 2003. Color film, 45 minutes; Hindi and English, with English subtitles. Distributed by Documentary Education Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; see http://www.der.org for details.
Naata (The Bond) is a documentary with four intertwined tales. Bhau Korde, a migrant to Mumbai with his parents from the Ahmednagar district in Gujarat, who worked in a school in Dharavi from 1948 to 1995, tells the story of his life. Waqar Khan, who arrived in Mumbai with his parents and siblings from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, narrates how he held a variety of jobs in the city—as a hawker selling bananas, then ready-made garments, and finally, at the time of the making of the film, an owner of a ready-made garment unit with 40 machines. The producers and directors, Anjali Monteiro and K. P. Jayasankar, who are faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and first-generation migrants to the city themselves, also narrate their own story. Unlike Khan and Korde, however, we never see them. Their narrative of their families’ lives told through material culture—toothbrushes, toys, vegetables, and other objects. They describe this documentary as a sort of “self-reflexive ethnography, low budget.” It negotiates the middle-class origins of their film and its relationship to the subaltern classes that make another film through gentle self-humor, so that while the subaltern speaks, the viewers/directors are not voyeurs nor patronizing “others” but allied media. The final tale is a tale of two cities inextricably bound to each other: Mumbai, with its impressive skyline, the city of film stars, India’s great metropolis of about 18 million people, and Dharavi, Asia’s largest shantytown, with about 800,000 people. The “slum” that today lies within the heart of Mumbai, built by the labor of migrants who arrive daily to follow their dreams and those displaced by forces within the urban area, find that they live in the shadows of “the Mumbai of the outside” (bahar ki Mumbai), where the directors live. Dharavi’s history is described as one of communal coexistence: its mosque was built on land donated by Kolis (fishermen), and the Adi Dravidas’ Hindu temple was built through the assistance of the Muslims. There are pictures of Shirdi Sai Baba, a saint revered by both Muslims and Hindus, in a teashop, and we are told that the Ganapati procession in Dharavi every year visits the mosque on its route. We see scenes of Holi and Muharram being celebrated, thriving markets with meat on skewers and pineapple, and the ceaseless industry of residents making everything from food to clothes for a local and an export market (they feel they could even meet the challenge of cheap Chinese goods if the government provided some assistance). This is a “mini-Hindustan.” The documentary focuses on the growing political consciousness of Korde and Khan following the 1992-93 communal clashes in Dharavi. They try to respond to the question: How could people who had lived so close together and supported each other with shelter, food, and employment butcher each other or set fire to dwellings and stores? The directors’ camera follows the efforts of Khan and Korde, who become friends due to their involvement in neighborhood committees, as they produce a film on communal harmony. Their film, which involves those living in Dharavi, depicts the real stories behind the riots, the perpetrators and victims, and the many acts of courage and compassion by people who intervened to save the lives of others, irrespective of religious affiliation. They decide that they have been merely spectators of films for a long time; it is time to make their own, not a secular film by people having a secular discussion, but something else. This film was shown at their own expense in their communities and even on national television. This is a great documentary for graduate and undergraduate courses on South Asia, religion, urban studies, political science, sociology, or anthropology. It raises many questions about subalterns, power, visual media, local nongovernmental organizations, and cities. The film shows the initiative and enterprise of residents in the place they call home, where they have built everything, although for those on the outside this is a slum, filthy and crime-ridden. The editing is deft, the film has flashes of humor and some excellent footage of the city within the city. Its message is that if everyone pursued the modest goal of doing something about local problems (even with small budgets and resources), then real social change could occur. This is a simple message, probably unrealistic to some; but at the end of the film we find ourselves unable to disagree with Korde and Khan: this is not a secular film by people having a secular discussion, but something else. It takes us beyond the tired dualism of fundamentalism and secularism to the bonds that work in everyday life in the South Asian city.
Naata and Ekta Sandesh Review by Infochange India: Naata: Directed by Anjali Monteiro and K P Jayasankar Ektaa Sandesh : Directed by Waqar P Khan Produced by Waqar P Khan, Mohalla Committee Movement Trust and Dharavi Citizens Hindi with English subtitles, 62 mins
Monteiro and Jayasankar’s Naata is about Bombay, and about Dharavi, the city’s most economically efficient neighbourhood, but the heart of the story lies with two extraordinary citizens, Waqar Khan and Bhau Korde and the making of their film, Ekta Sandesh.
Khan and Korde are both long-time residents of Dharavi and both first-generation migrants to the city. Both count on Dharavi for their livelihood and for their perceptions of the nation. When the deadly riots of 1992-93 tore the city and their community apart, both were (separately) moved to act, to make sure that something like this never happened again. In Dharavi, as in other parts of the city, the Rashtriya Ekta Samiti and Mohalla Committees swung into action, soothing and repairing emotionally and materially fractured communities. While Bombay appeared to settle down and returned to business as usual, the communal cauldron continued to simmer, culminating, 10 years later, in the devastating conflagration of Godhra and Ahmedabad in 2002.In the intervening period, Khan and Korde had been busy, thinking of new and innovative ways to bring the message of communal harmony to their neighbours, friends and enemies. Khan used local children to pose for a picture, dressed as a Muslim, a Hindu, a Sikh and a Christian, bearing the slogan, ‘Hum Sab Ek Hain’, a poster that dominates the beach at Juhu Chowpatty even today. But over the months and years, Khan and Korde decided that film was the best medium for this message and, even as they were starting to shoot their film with the help and talents of local residents, the genocide in Gujarat began and their message and its dissemination became more urgent. Naata follows these remarkable men and their personal commitment to secularism, a commitment that sets them on the challenging path that results in the making and screening of Ekta Sandesh. Woven through Khan and Korde’s story of Bombay, a city of dreams and a city of shattered hopes, is another story of first-generation migrants, the story of Monteiro and Jayasankar themselves, who also came to the city separately and met there, and then followed the path of their (henceforward) conjoined commitments and destiny. Monteiro and Jayasankar use Naata and the documentation of Khan and Korde’s journey as activists for harmony as a moment to reflect on their own lives. We hear their voices without ever seeing them, as they construct a “self-reflexive ethnography”. Their young daughter (another unseen but fully articulated presence) provides the thread upon which the beads of identity and difference, of confusion and resolution, of questioning and answering, are strung. Her childish clarity sprinkles fairy dust on the issues that vex her parents, and this is where the personal story of the filmmakers collides with the determined idealism and activism of their subjects, Khan and Korde. Naata is among the new generation of documentaries where filmmakers forcefully place themselves and their concerns at the margin (if not at the very centre) of the films they are making. The filmmaker revealing her/himself in the process of filmmaking, or placing personal history in the service of a narrative, cannot be regarded as merely a nod in the direction of intellectual post-modernism or a narcissistic acknowledgement of intervention: rather, we must agree to recognise the filmmaker as a creating subject and an object at the same time. In Ekta Sandesh, Khan and Korde do not use personal narrative as the momentum for their film, instead, they make full and florid use of shared cultural narratives to make their point. Their film is unabashed in its exploitation of Bollywood: Ekta Sandesh is a montage of clips from Hindi commercial cinema, where heroes (Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Sunny Deol, Aamir Khan, Arvind Swamy and Ajay Devgan, to name a few), produce fiery and inspirational speeches about the secular nation and communal harmony. The film strings together another set of hopeful beads on a commentary (written by Dr Ram Puniyani) and interspersed with messages of how to nurture and develop communal harmony from former police commissioners (including Julius Ribeiro and KS Sahni) and local celebrities like Ravindar Jain and Ameen Sayani. The opening sequence of Ekta Sandesh consciously employs the full-blown elements of Bollywood cinema to tell us that pain and suffering are not coded by religion or community, that they affect us all, equally. Ekta Sandesh is much more than the sum of its parts. Khan and Korde themselves embody the message of secularism and communal harmony that they seek to spread. Traveling with a projector and a screen, Khan and Korde show Ekta Sandesh (at their own expense) in communities that have been savaged by manufactured distrust and prejudice. More than any other self-consciously post-modern film that I have seen, Ekta Sandesh conflates filmmaker, form and content to the point where the maker, the medium and the message become one. Add to that Naata, a film about this film, and you reach the point where instead of your head spinning, you have utter and complete clarity about what is being said. http://infochangeindia.org/documentary09.jsp
Dharavi bridges its communal divide
Kavitha IyerThu, Jan 1 01:30 AM
In December 1992, when a blanket of communal discord as never seen before was thrown over the country following the razing of the Babri Masjid, among the first places in Mumbai that saw grubby walls plastered with ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’ posters, was Dharavi, home to about 70,000 families, all living within hearing distance of one another’s household conversations. When riots broke out, Dharavi burned for three days. Between December 1992 and January 1993, 62 residents of Dharavi died: three by arson, three by mob action, 28 by police firing, 28 in stabbing cases, including 43 Muslims, 17 Hindus and two others. Sixteen years later, the Ganesh Chaturthi festival of 2008 saw about 200 Muslims and as many Hindus dine together as the Muslims broke their roza in perhaps the only iftaar party ever to be organised by a Ganesh mandal, the meal served outside the enclosure where the elephant-headed god sat. Chief promoter of the iftaar party was PaulÂ Raphel, a Syrian Christian and a member of Dharavi’s mohalla committee. And the bill was footed by Krishna K, the mandal’s Hindu organiser and a cable operator.Â “Nothing in Dharavi is now too difficult for us to control. Whatever tensions there may be elsewhere in the city, Dharavi has remained peaceful since 1993,” says Raphel, adding that the mohalla committee and its many offshoots in Dharavi have done much more than maintain peace. “We’ve formed long-lasting bonds with our neighbours now, religion isÂ secondary.”Â While the state government and the police machinery mull over how to improve community participation in policing and intelligence gathering, a bond built in the aftermath of the 1992-1993 carnage has not only survived, but has grown into an example of how proactive citizens’ movements can keep the peace. Even on the issue of the redevelopment of the slum, the communities are together in a way that really gives Mumbai its cosmopolitan tag.Â ”It could only happen in Dharavi,” says Bhau Korde, 70, one of the seniormost members of the Mohalla Committee Movement Trust that was set up across the city post-1993. Hundreds of people work together to keep communities together. When a church group organised a women’s day celebration, 200 Muslim women attended.”Â Traditionally, Dharavi used to be one of Mumbai’s most communally sensitive areas, a four-sq-km patch with people living in such close proximity that tensions mount easily in the large pockets of south Indians, Muslims and backward class Hindus. “Dharavi bilkul alag hai,” Korde says. “Dharavi Mumbai nahi hai. When we met people from various communities living next to one another, we saw they had been living together for over 60 years, peacefully. So how did the killing take place, we asked both Hindus and Muslims.” Korde insists people are intrinsically secular at the grassroots. The posters and provocation had come from outside. Korde’s search for friends from other communities led him to establish a long-lasting bond with Waqar Khan, 43, a shirt-manufacturer who is also an active member of Dharavi’s Mohalla Committee. “There is one major difference between the post-1992 situation and now,” says Khan. “Then, the problem was communal, and our solution was peace and brotherhood. Today, we have to deal with a bigger challenge. It has a new face called terrorism.” He says there is need for dialogue on why terror attacks occur and what makes young men turn to terror. “Islam doesn’t promote this. People are misleading youngsters,” Khan says.Â In 2005, filmmakers Jayashankar and Anjali Monteiro made Naata, a 44-minute documentary evaluating the bonds forged by the Mohalla Committee in Dharavi through the special relationship established between Korde and Khan. “It was inspiring to work with them,” Anjali says. “The middle class does not usually stick its neck out and engage with the world. And these people took their work beyond symbolic actions, spoke out and showed that one is responsible for the community.”Â She says the mohalla committee movement has also managed to build a younger generation of active citizens who are able to open dialogue between various communities on issues other than communal harmony-education, health and the redevelopment of Dharavi.
Naata – Some Links:
[PDF] Bhedako Oon Jasto File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML www.ektaonline.org/events/tfsa2004/press/PK021004.pdf
About the Directors
Anjali Monteiro is Professor, and K.P. Jayasankar is Professor, Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Monteiro has a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Jayasankar has an M.A. in German language and a Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences. Both of them are involved in media production, teaching and research. A presiding thematic of much of their work has been a problematising of notions of self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals. These range from the stories and paintings of indigenous peoples to the poetry of prison inmates. Jointly they have won twenty one national and international awards for their films. These include the Prix Futura Berlin 1995 Asia Prize for Identity- The Construction of Selfhood, a Special Mention of the Jury at MIFF `96 for Kahankar: Ahankar, the Certificate of Merit at MIFF `98 and Best Innovation, Astra Film Festival 1998, Sibiu, Romania for YCP 1997, the Second Prize for Saacha at the New Delhi Video Forum 2001 and the Best documentary award at the IV Three Continents International Festival of Documentaries 2005, Venezuela, for SheWrite. Their most recent awards are the Special Jury Award at the Signs 2007 Festival, held in Thiruvananthapuram, Certificate of Merit, Mumbai International Film Festival 2008, Indian Documentary Producers Associuation (IDPA) Gold for Best Sound Design, Gold for Best Script and Silver for Editing for the film Our Family.
They have several papers in the area of media and cultural studies and have contributed to scholarly journals such as Cultural Studies. They are both recipients of the Howard Thomas Memorial Fellowship in Media Studies, and have been attached to Goldsmith’s College, London and the University of Western Sydney. Monteiro has been awarded a Fulbright visiting lecturer fellowship for 2006-07 at the University of California, Berkeley. They also serve as visiting faculty to several leading media and design institutions across India, such as Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and University of Hyderabad and Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. They are both actively involved in ‘Vikalp‘ and ‘Films for Freedom’, which are collectives of documentary filmmakers campaigning for freedom of expression. They are also associated with various media and voluntary organisations.