UFS Monthly Film Screening

February 2018


For this month we watched a documentary film ‘Soz: A ballad of maladies’ directed by Tushar Madhav and Sarvanik Kaur. The screening was hosted at Bougainvillea art gallery. Around 20 guests came for the screening.


All those present were aware of the grim situation of Kashmir. The issues were well put by Jatin and other members. But we are often at a loss to sort the truth from lies, reality from propaganda, life and culture from politics. Lines become further blurred when looked through the lens of nationalism, patriotism, and loyalties. This is the theme that the film touches upon. It analyses recorded history against the lived history of Kashmiris, questions the conflict of the dominant culture of the ruler with the dominated culture of the masses. There are narratives of a poet-historian, a hip-hop artist, a rock band, a journalist, a cartoonist among others all of whose approach to activism and resistance is radically different from what is generally portrayed, but they are all united for social justice.


The key here is to read between the lines. In hip-hop content, for instance, Beethoven’s uplifting sonata is the background for the deeply disturbing reality of Kashmiri youth left with few choices other than militancy. Another detail that tends to get missed out or subconsciously glossed over is how the director gives space to the introspective voice that says let us not romanticise Kashmiriyat to the extent of fundamentalism and status quoism.

The seemingly dead-end debate of violence against Kashmiri pandits used as a pretext for revenge anywhere and everywhere – for this too the record is set right. Here, cultural loyalty is above personages, irrespective of religion. Hindus could be comrades, while Muslims could be traitors to the cause of ethnicity, called Kashimiriyat. Narrative constantly, in all forms, holds up the nonviolent dialogue as the only way ahead, as well as problematising it.

In all, the venue- art gallery was an apt venue for the spectacular film, where subject melted into the landscape. All of us went back with lots to think about and revisit our ideas about what popular media serves us.

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Interestingly, Udaipur on the same evening hosted an international level music festival with artists from all over the world. The event was funded by mining conglomerates like Vedanta. UFS managing to pull even 20 odd people to watch a documentary film on the same date, that caters to masses and not to classes, raises consciousness rather than numbing them down is a positive sign for UFS to march on!

A word about the discussion on WhatsApp group of UFS deserves mention. I raised the concern that maybe we don’t need to do collective screenings because so much interesting stuff that challenges status quo is available to everybody at just a finger sweep. Evidently, watching something together, where responses snowball, consent or dissent gets manufactured much more strongly, all this and secondly, an expert view and suggestions (in this case, CoR) make a huge difference too.


A date for a screening of next month is tentative – second Sunday of March. A suggestion was made by Shubham, a member of our Udaipur team, for the next screening – Ship of Theasus. The final decision will be made after discussion.

Thanks are due to Megha and Rinku, UFS convenors who coordinated the screening, may they continue to do so! To Saurabh for suggesting the film, Nitesh, and Dharmu and others for provoking us, and Shailendra for being there!  I can thank myself for thanking others!



अब फ़िल्म महोत्सव विद्या भवन ऑडिटोरियम में होगा

The Fourth Udaipur Film Festival, organised by Udaipur Film Society and the Cinema of Resistance campaign has been threatened and its venue forcibly shifted (by getting the original venue cancelled) on behest of, who else but, the ABVP. The 4th UFF has been conceived on the theme of “Voices from the Dalit resistance”, and features films that highlight Dalit student suicides, the Una movement, the expose of the Kairana “Hindu exodus”, fictions like Sairat, Anhey Ghorhey da Daan, and new documentaries on Dalit resistance like “Flames of Freedom: The Ichchapur Declaration”. The Sangh is afraid of precisely these films as is evident from the content and language of their letter forcing the administration to cancel the pre-assigned venue on the eve of the festival.

Please read the full PRESS RELEASE and spread the word and stand in solidarity with the committed team of Udaipur Film Society and the Pratirodh ka Cinema campaign who are determined not to buckle under pressure and go ahead with the full festival at an alternative venue.

साथियों, अधिकतम प्रसार की अपील के साथ यह प्रेस विज्ञप्ति प्रेषित है हमारा फेस्टिवल ‘दलित प्रतिरोध के उभरते स्वर’ पर केन्द्रित है. जाहिर है यह विषय सत्ता में बैठे लोगो को नहीं पचा साथ ही अटेचमेंट में संलग्न एबीवीपी की प्रेस विज्ञप्ति की भाषा भी देखिये :

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

कल 14 अक्तूबर से शुरू होने वाले चौथे उदयपुर फ़िल्म फेस्टिवल को फेस्टिवल शुरू होने से ठीक एक दिन पहले की शाम को संघ और प्रसाशन ने दबाव बनाकर रुकवाने की भरपूर कोशिश की. फिल्मोत्सव के आयोजकों को पुलिस प्रसाशन द्वारा बुलाकर देर रात तक लम्बी बैठक की गयी. प्रशासन से बैठक का कारण यह था कि राजकीय कृषि महाविद्यालय का ऑडिटोरियम जो कि फ़िल्म महोत्सव करने का स्थल था यूनिवर्सिटी द्वारा रद्द कर दिया गया और इसका कारण यह बताया गया कि प्रशासन से कार्यक्रम की पूर्वानुमति नहीं ली गयी थी. ज्ञातव्य है कि उदयपुर फ़िल्म सोसाइटी पिछले चार साल से यह फ़िल्म फेस्टिवल कर रही है, न तो पिछले तीन फिल्मोत्सवों में कोई पूर्वानुमति ली गयी और न ही किसी भी सांस्कृतिक आयोजन में कभी भी ऐसी किसी अनुमति की जरुरत होती है.

दरअसल अखिल भारतीय विद्यार्थी परिषद् के द्वारा कृषि विश्वविद्यालय के कुलपति को ज्ञापन सौंपा गया था. जिसमे फ़िल्म महोत्सव को आग भड़काने और बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर के नाम पर राजनीति करने वाला बताया गया. कुलपति ने दबाव में आकर विश्विद्यालय सभागार में कार्यक्रम को निरस्त कर दिया जबकि इसकी पूर्व लिखित अनुमति सोसाइटी ने पहले ही ले ली थी एवं निर्धारित शुल्क 24,450 रूपये भी जमा करा दिए थे.

विश्वविधालय द्वारा अनुमति निरस्त किए जाने के बाद सोसाइटी को आनन-फानन में नया कार्यक्रम स्थल चुनना पड़ा. अब यह फ़िल्म महोत्सव विद्या भवन ऑडिटोरियम में होगा. पूरा कार्यक्रम तीनो दिन यथावत वैसे ही रहेगा.

इस ख़बर के साथ एबीवीपी की प्रेस विज्ञप्ति और कृषि महाविद्यालय के डीन के द्वारा दिया गया निरस्तगी का पत्र संलग्न है. विद्यार्थी परिषद् की प्रेस विज्ञप्ति में रोहित वेमुला, गुजरात के ऊना मामले और कैराना जैसे विषयों पर फ़िल्म प्रदर्शन और बहस को धर्म एवं जाति पर लड़वाने वाला विषय बताया गया और यह सब मामले छात्रों को बरगलाने की साजिश बताये गये हैं. फेस्टिवल के आयोजकों द्वारा कहा गया कि जातिगत शोषण के सभी मुद्दों पर बात एवं बहस करके ही जतिमुक्त समाज की दिशा में बढ़ा जा सकता है. इन सभी मुद्दों पर बात करके एवं जातिगत भेदभाव एवं अन्याय का कड़ा विरोध करके ही हम एक समतामूलक समाज की दिशा में आगे बढ़ सकते है. अतः इन विषयों पर चुप्पी नहीं बल्कि बात करना ही जिम्मेदार नागरिक का कर्तव्य है. पुलिस प्रशासन द्वारा जिन फिल्मों पर आपति एवं सवाल उठाये गये उनके बारें में सोसाइटी का कहना है कि वह सभी फ़िल्में देश के प्रतिष्ठित निर्माताओं और निर्देशकों द्वारा बनाई गयी है. जिन्हें देश विदेश में पर्याप्त प्रशंसा भी मिली है.

I hope…

What makes a movie successful?
Is it when a viewer is able to connect itself with the story? or
Is it when a viewer knows that such things can happen or in worst case, have happened? or
Is it when a viewer is able to relate to almost every feeling portrayed in the movie? or
Is it when a viewer leaves the cinema hall with some realization rather than ‘a learning’? or
Is it when a viewer just simply knows that it is real and possible?
As far as I can remember, what I have usually seen is a fictional story between a guy, girl and love. A story with differences like economic status, social status, caste, religion and what not. And to make sure that these stories doesn’t look same, some non-fictional human throw various drama in it. I am not saying that all these stories doesn’t teach us some morals but c’mon, I haven’t heard of such cool schools and colleges like they portray in reel life.
I am a movie person and love rom-coms. But at the same time, I have a thing for movies which are far away from romance. May be that is why Smita Patil’s starring Mirch-Masala is one movie I love. The movie have almost everything from real story, location, lights and an outstanding cast. The movies tells us about one of the major consequences of migration and women empowerment during pre-independence period of India.
‘Cinema is the reflection of society’ they say and this is the cinema which makes it worth a watch. Cinema, which introduces our heterogenic India to us, fills us with the curiosity to know more and more, resulting in to make us love our nation. And I believe this is what ‘Cinema of Resistance’ wants from its viewers. After doing my research about the previous Film Festivals, I am now a part of the upcoming Udaipur Film Festival for the first time as a volunteer, and I have huge expectations from it. I hope to fall in love with my ancestors who have fought and died for their rights. Through a unique way of movie screenings, I hope to know more about Dalit’s Movement, and murders in the name of society and learn what made India what it is today.
Hence, Udaipur Film Festival started with ‘no-sponsorship’ model, making it mass collaboration and that is why it is called Janta ka Cinema or ‘People’s Cinema’. Unlike to what other film or theatre festivals offer, here you will get various occasions to communicate with one another through direct dialogue with the filmmakers, freedom of putting your views forward, Saathi (fellow) culture and most importantly equal opportunity environment. Be it a filmmaker, volunteer or a viewer, here no one is above or beneath anyone.
According to the recent studies, today’s youth is not into buying properties and cars, but to invest their savings in experiences. And ‘Cinema of Resistance’ is one such experience which won’t ask for any of your savings but will give you a reason to opt for another. So, join me in this journey and sing a song of resistance.

(Udaipur Film Society and Cinema of Resistance are organizing the 4th Udaipur Film festival on 14-16 October 2016 at RCA Auditorium, Udaipur. Come join us in the celebration of new wave cinema, arts and create your own resistance.)


Abbas Kiarostami…

It has to be something magical, otherwise there is no scientific explanation to my travelling back in time when I first watched Abbas movies. Few days back, Abbas Kiarostami, an Iranian photographer-painter-screenwriter-director was just a name  I read on the brochure of UFS screening schedule. I started browsing the movies on YouTube and found some of them. The first movie I watched was ‘Bread and the Alley’. Taken aback, with the striking similarity, I was astounded “hell! it is one of my childhood memories”; my conscious exclaimed. And not only this film, it was his every movie which was bewilderment to me; always leaving me to knock on the doors which reveal to me my past experiences of life. 
Abbas Kiarostami, according to me must have been a man into visuals. His work and words both reflect it.  He started his career as a painter, but was recognised and praised as a director. “I have often seen that we do not see what is in front of us until we put it in a frame” said the director during an interview. This statement may or may not reflect his ordeal to you but to my understandings, he surely must have had some difficulties to communicate his stories through his paintings and chose the movies as the medium to tell his stories.
Nostalgia is a strong abstract noun leaving you overwhelmed, crying, happy, smiling and what not. But what triggers  these emotion is something we never pay attention under the whirlpool of emotions it leaves. 
His little characters sneak into our conscience and touch to the very emotion they want to inflict. It is really amazing that I am able to connect my self to a movie of 70’s, made 20 years apart my birth and has left a deep impact on me . Well, it won’t be fair if I say that they are some well directed movies leaving me all in twister of sentiments. No, they were the movies way to beyond their times, when contemporary directors were making business in commercial cinema, he busy was understanding and studying the aspects of human emotions closely and picturesque them into a film. Whether its a boy chased by a dog, an old man whose grand daughter is wondering why he is not responding to the doorbell, or two friends mending or mewling over a torn text book, or a boy lost in outskirts of the town; he was always able to leave us awestruck because we failed to correspond to the same situations. These were not any superficial-once-in-a-decade situations but these were the situations we usually encounter on a daily basis. The important question though is if we are actually able to conceive them and  adapt the morals of it ? No, thus its not his movies which were out standing, it was the prospect of the stories.
Abbas Kiarostami touched many hearts, many souls with his stories, his films; his attitude towards life was amazing and had achieved praises from many critics. Also, was bestowed with palme’ dor award at Cannes film festival. 
It hurts me and may as well hurt people who are emotional like me, that how easily we have lost a part or major part of our respective lives chasing our goals and forgotten to witness the true happiness like seeing a child smile at us with missing incisors. 
Its sad but true – the only place we are showing our  emotions now are on internet with emoticon. If we are looking for resistance, we have to be sensitive towards emotions of living beings around us and have to look around us. 

Abbas reinstalled, reemphasised and ensured to me that I keep the smaller yet visibly available happy and real moments in life. That he showed to me through cinema, which I have decided to reflect in my life shows the power of Cinema, the new cinema.

(Udaipur Film Society is organising it’s 4th annual Film Festival on 14-16 October 2016 and the festival is dedicated to Abbas Kiarostami, among others. UFF4 is an invitation for all of you to come and celebrate the legacy of Kiarostami and his wonderful world, and then leave to find this nearby us.)

8 reasons to join UFF4

Let us take a look on what makes ‘Cinema of Resistance’ different from the other film festivals and why you would certainly like to be part of the Fourth Udaipur Film Festival

1. Saathi culture: The festival brings Saathi (Fellow) culture. Everyone here is a buddy and the society is like a family. Everyone with the help of each other prepares for the film society activities throughout the year and provide every possible support. If you participate and listen to everyone calling Saathi, don’t try to find someone with the name “Saathi” as we are all saathi for each other and so will you if present with us; physically, mentally or ideologically.

2. Beyond the formality: So often we are involved in a program where we have to go through a series of formalities such as chief-guest doing inauguration by cutting red ribbon, hospitality, wreaths, etc. But, since the very beginning, Udaipur Film Society ‘Cinema of Resistance’ and Udaipur Film festival, everyone is treated equally and the festival directly starts with omitting these mundane ceremonies, focusing on the idea and hard-work behind it. Here, neither the courtesies like Sir-Madam are required nor the apparel like suit-tie are preferred. So, we actually don’t cut the red ribbons, but connect the red threads of camaraderie.

3. Environment of Equality: Udaipur Film Society believes in equality and everyone here is at the same level. Here is just one coordinator purely for functional reasons, who gets the support of the entire team and everyone has the freedom to choose and act according to their will and skill. And things such as discrimination in caste, religion or gender are not entertained here. Filmmaker or volunteer or audience, everybody eats the same kind of food. So, equality and freedom when practiced honestly can actually make the results even more satisfying. If you want to see it work, then you know you can’t miss the opportunity of coming here.

4. From Mainstream cinema to Contemporary & relevant Cinema: Cinema is a reflection of the society, they say. With time, the social changes have its impact on cinema. Which is why, as the current mainstream cinema is greatly influenced by the market or business, the contemporary cinema wanted to move away from the mainstream and ensure that people get to see the other kind as well.


5. Direct Dialogue with Film-makers: What makes the ‘Cinema of Resistance’ unique is that, one will not only come here to watch a film but to also interact with the people associated in the making of the film. Discussion, which is an important part of the process of watching the film, you cannot do in other theater or film event. Here, you can put forward any query that comes in your mind related to the theme of the film, its making, its budgeting etc, without any hesitation. So, if you want to ask a documentary filmmaker, what’s your business model or which agency is behind the conspiracy of supporting acts like yours; you can ask directly. 🙂

6. Freedom of and Respect to Ideologies ‘Cinema of Resistance’ is a platform where everyone has the freedom to speak your way. You can even suggest someone to improve on their mistakes. Your every big and small suggestion is important here. If there is anything throughout the festival that makes you uncomfortable or if you have any objection to a film or a theme or you think differently about it, it can be kept from you effortlessly. There are no left, right or centre here; but full of curious minds asking millions of curious questions to broaden our understanding while being together in the journey.

7. Collaborative platform of different forms of arts: Apart from the films, Udaipur Film Festival keeps an account of various cultural activities throughout the fest which includes hear the story, a poem, sing folk song or songs of resistance, drama, painting etc. In one of the days, there is also a special section of story, poetry and films for children. Redefining the crossover of cinema being only the motion picture on a screen to a collaboration between various art forms. And yes, we have something for everyone.

8. No Sponsorship model: At the end, what makes this film festival even more important is that, it is held without sponsorship. The event therefore, it is mass collaboration, which is why it is also called ‘People’s Cinema’ or ‘Janta ka Cinema’. To support the program, volunteers collects donations from the individuals who believes that this is a critical movement in today’s society. Also, during the festival volunteers stand with a drop box in which you can input voluntarily. If you wonder if the community and the people can make a movement service organically, then come and join us. We will happily host you and wouldn’t mind even your donations; but only as an individual. 

(The desire to do something different in the area of cinema, a movement called ‘Cinema of Resistance’ was launched in collaboration with Jan Sanskirti Manch. Over the years, it has reached the population through 57 film festivals in and around 17 cities and towns across the country. It is not just a series of movie-show, but the audience and the film-makers get the chance to communicate. Following the trend, on 14th-16th October, Udaipur Film Society is organizing its 4th Film festival.)