Journeys with Ram and Kabir
a film by Shabnam Virmani
Language: Hindi & Urdu with English Subtitles
Duration: 103 mins
on 18th September, 2010, Saturday at 5.30pm
Venue: S-35, Tara Apartments, Alaknanda
about the film
Kabir was a 15th century mystic poet of north India who defied the boundaries between Hindu and Muslim. He had a Muslim name and upbringing, but his poetry repeatedly invokes the widely revered Hindu name for God – Ram. Who is Kabir’s Ram?
This film journeys through song and poem into the politics of religion, and finds a myriad answers on both sides of the hostile border between India and Pakistan.
about the film maker
Shabnam Virmani, is a documentary film maker and artist in residence at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore since 2002.Co-founder of the Drishti Media Arts and Human Rights collective, she has directed several documentaries in close partnership with grassroots women’s groups in the country (When Women Unite and Tu Zinda Hai, Bol series among others) and also co-directed an award-winning community radio program with the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan in Gujarat.
Virmani began her career as a sub-editor in The Times of India in Jaipur in 1987. A few months later she made journalistic history when she filed the Sati story on what happened in Deorala village, Rajasthan. The next year she won a scholarship to do a Masters degree in Development Communication at the Cornell University, United States. She tried her hand at film making there and her 20-minute student film "Have a Nice Day," was a personal narrative of her alienation, as an Indian student trying to come to terms with North American culture.
Shabnam Virmani is currently the director of the Kabir Project. Started in 2003, the Kabir project brings together the experiences of a series of journeys in quest of this 15th century mystic poet in our contemporary worlds. It consists of documentary films, 2 folk music videos and 10 music CDs accompanied by books of the poetry in translation. The films journey into contemporary spaces touched by his music and poetry. In her films, Shabnam juxtaposes the urban and the rural, the Indian and the foreign, the classical and the folk, and the secular and the sacred, in their many approaches to Kabir and the search for a universal voice.
in the words of the film maker as written in ''Walking with Kabir' by Shabnam Virmani. Featured in the January 2010 issue of Seminar magazine.
"The Kabir films and festivals that are currently unfolding around their screenings and live music concerts are a small effort towards experiencing Kabir in an integrated way, without fragmentation. They try to bring the socio-political, material world, with its dilemmas and choices together with the spiritual world, the deep inner realms of meditative stillness and the insights of self-knowledge they hold for us. The films and the festivals do not offer us music as temporary escape into elevated spaces free of the muck of reality. They constantly weave between the sublime and the mundane, the spiritual and the political.There was a moment during the Bangalore festival of Kabir in February-March 2009 when it felt like this truth was realized. The context was the growing jingoistic mood in our country four months after the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008.
It was the last day of the festival, the final concert of qawwali by Fariduddin Ayaz from Karachi and the 1350-seat auditorium was packed to the brim. When he burst into the famous Rajasthani folk song ‘Padhaaro mhaare des (Come to my country)’, the moment crackled with a tragic beauty. ‘Let us go to that undivided land,’ he said, ‘that country beyond India and Pakistan, that undivided mind space where we all belong, where Kabir is calling us…’ Many in the audience were weeping.
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