1. So Heddan So Hoddan
Dir: Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a medieval Sufi poet, is an iconic figure in the cultural history of Sindh. Bhitai’s Shah Ji Risalo is a remarkable collection of poems which are sung by many communities in Kachchh and across the border in Sindh (now in Pakistan). Umar Haji Suleiman of Abdasa, in Kachchh, Gujarat, is a self taught Sufi scholar; once a cattle herder, now a farmer, he lives his life through the poetry of Bhitai. Umar’s cousin, Mustafa Jatt sings the Beths of Bhitai. He is accompanied on the Surando, by his cousin Usman Jatt. Usman is a truck driver, who owns and plays one of the last surviving Surandos in the region. The Surando is a peacock shaped, five-stringed instrument from Sindh. The film explores the life worlds of the three cousins, their families and the Fakirani Jat community to which they belong. Before the Partition the Maldhari (pastoralist) Jatts moved freely across the Rann, between Sindh (now in Pakistan) and Kutch. As pastoral ways of living have given way to settlement, borders and industrialisation, the older generation struggles to keep alive the rich syncretic legacy of Shah Bhitai, that celebrates diversity and non-difference, suffering and transcendence, transience and survival.

2. Sama – Muslim Mystic Music Of India
Dir: Shazia Khan

SAMA is the story of Indian Islamic music, born out of a union of Indian and Islamic traditions more than a thousand years ago. It explores the intermingling of these traditions, in both form and content, to become a truly magnificent sound. SAMA takes a journey to many breathtaking locations across India and explores how this music organically blends to absorb cultures and flavours, yet retains its original texture. In doing so, the film explores the kaleidoscope of Islamic culture in India and the contacts and conflicts of Islamic India with indigenous elements, particularly those of Hinduism. At the heart of the film is the Universal Spiritual Quest, asking and suggesting: What is it that we are seeking? and what does it mean to be free? How does the artist become one with the Creator, as he creates this Sufi/mystical music? Thus, it becomes both a story of the inspiration and the inspired. Amongst the various endeavours that the film attempts to make is to refute arguments that Islamic culture has largely ceased to evolve beyond its formative years in the Middle East. Most importantly, we see that religious systems are neither self-contained nor static.

3. Lalon

Lalon Fakir (? – 1890), a doyen among the Baul-Fakirs of Bengal, composed few hundred songs of profound depth and an excellent sense of music. Buddhist Tantricism, Hindu Vaisnavism and Islamic Sufism all have their shares of influence on Lalon. Throughout the decades Lalon’s songs, depicting asceticism and transience of life, have expressed the pathos and pangs of the caste-ridden subaltern rural populace of Bengal. Lalon’s secular ideas and enchanting lyrics left deep influence on the subsequent generations of the different trends of Baul-Fakirs of Bangladesh and India. Though Lalon died only a hundred years ago yet not much details of his life is clearly known and some aspects are still shrouded in mystery. By portraying the milieu of Lalon who was a kind of a Guru during his life-time, the film aims to catch the social ethos of his period. Some historical personalities, who were prominent in the cultural history of Bengal of that time and came in touch with Lalon, like Jyotirindranath Tagore, Kangal Harinath and Mir Mosharraf Hossain, also figure in the film. The film tries to portray Lalon’s life, persona and ideas mainly through the lyrics of his songs.

2 Responses to “Films”

  1. rangamchiru January 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Is there anyway one could buy these films online??
    And great updates. Kabil-e-tareef!!

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