Punjab Research Group

Memorialising a forgotten chapter: Komagata Maru – IIT Kharagpur

Posted in Events, Film by Pippa on February 15, 2015
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A Qissa for a Globalised by Kavita Bhanot

Posted in Articles, Film by Pippa on August 19, 2014

QissaA Qissa for a Globalised World August 17, 2014

[Following is a guest post by Kavita Bhanot. She is a London based writer. Her short stories and non-fiction have been published widely in anthologies, magazines and journals, two of her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and she is the editor of the short story collection Too Asian, Not Asian Enough (Tindal Street Press, 2011.) ]

There has, of late, been a revival of Punjabi cinema directed towards and watched by Punjabi audiences. A recent addition to Punjabi language cinema, albeit less ‘commercial’ and more ‘artistic’ is the Punjabi language film Qissa: Tale of a Lonely Ghost which has been doing the rounds at international film festivals and was screened last week at the London Indian Film Festival.

The film is about the violent consequences of son obsession in a Sikh refugee family in post-partition East Punjab.Visually striking, Qissa stands out for its cinematography; the framing, the use of shadows and light, the unusual angles. It was often absorbing, most of all in the scenes between actresses Tillotama Shome and Rasika Dugal, playing the couple Kanwar Singh and Neeli who find themselves in a predicament after marriage when they both discover that Kawar is actually a woman. Their interactions quiver with layered tension and chemistry.

Ultimately, however, the film doesn’t quite come together, it seems to lack internal coherence. I found myself watching it with a sense of unease, it didn’t carry me through, and when, in the post film discussion, the director spoke about the qissa tradition, connecting his film to this ‘genre,’ my discomfort increased.

Encompassed in the title, in the main heading (Qissa) and the subheading (The Tale of the Lonely Ghost), are two very different conceptions of storytelling, the film seems to hover between both of these, but falls ultimately, in the framework of the latter.

The Qissa is a storytelling tradition that is woven into the lives, culture of Punjabis. Qissas have been retold, reinterpreted in each era, often through music – the Sufi versions of these stories that are most well-known. Rooted in time and place – it is through particularity, detail, a connection with everyday life that qissas speak to the people of the region. Waris Shah weaves into Heer, perhaps the most popular qissa, painstaking, almost sociological detail about the customs, practices, beliefs, social, economic and political structures of the time. Qissas often portray, through love stories, the defiance and rebellion of ordinary people, exploring the radical potential of love and sexuality, as lovers and their accomplices defy the conventions, religion, ‘morality’ of an oppressive society. Qissas, in this way, critique social, political institutions, challenging power at all levels. While the lovers in Sufi qissas simultaneously symbolise the relationship between devotee and pir or guru, it is through the details, the emotion and earthiness of lived life that they become metaphors, that they become universal. Sufis understood that this was the way to connect with people.

Read full article: http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/potpurri/a_qissa_for_a_globalised_world.html

Parminder, a Cosmopolitan

Posted in Diaspora, Film, Migration by Pippa on January 3, 2014

Notes to accompany the film on Parminder: A Cosmopolitan

The film has resonated with people across the world and went on to twitter and many face book pages. It has been viral via university and other sites across Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and other transnational sites across the diaspora. It will used on courses at University of California campuses at Berkeley, Riverside, and also Santa Barbara in Ethnic and Diversity Studies, and also on Global Diasporas. This film’s impact much beyond the Clark University media class for which it was made is as much a surprise to Parminder, as it is to the film maker, for whom many opportunities have emerged to make other films, though with much longer time formats than 9 minute length of this film.

Jonathan Dana, the talented young film maker is 20 years old. He was awarded a prestigious Clinton Media Fellowship last year and worked in New York at the Clinton Foundation. His work was greatly admired by Hilary Clinton and it is now on her official site. He is the son of an eminent cinematographer.

Parminder was a fellow graduate student with me at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the late 70s. She received her Ph.D. in 1981 and has since authored four books, the latest of which is Dangerous Designs. Her current work is on diasporic creativity and innovation, a theme on which she is currently writing a book.

I hope that some of you will watch the film. A number of us already know Parminder well, both from her time in the British academy, and since her migration to the USA in 1990, firstly to UCLA, and then to Clark University in Massachusetts. She held a prestigious Henry R. Luce Professorship in Cultural Identities and Global Processes for 9 years at Clark, before moving into the Sociology Department there in 2000, which has been her departmental home for the past 13 years.

It is a pleasure for me to see a member of the Punjab Research Group being celebrated across the world, especially as she is of the pioneering generation of British Asian, and indeed now Asian American intellectuals of the diaspora, whose academic work focuses on the Punjabi migrants and their multiple diasporas. She has been in the USA now for 24 years, which is longer than any other site in which she has been lived in the past.

I have included below a link to the film. As stated above, you can also watch it on You Tube on Jonathan Dana’s site, entitled Parminder: A Cosmopolitan.

Dr. Shinder S. Thandi, Coventry University, Founding Member of the Journal of Punjab Studies

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COMPETITION WIN “*The Punjab Trilogy” on DVD

Posted in Film, News/Information by Pippa on November 5, 2013
COMPETITION
WIN “*The Punjab Trilogy” on DVD
Kitte Mil Ve Mahi / Where The Twain Shall Meet
Rabba Hun Ke Kariye /Thus Departed Our Neighbours
Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te / Let’s Meet At Baba Ratan’s Fair

We are giving away one complete set of The Punjab Trilogy, documentary films by Ajay Bhardwaj.

To enter the competition just answer this question:
Who passes the message that Ranjha has arrived disguised as a Jogi to the Khaira’s village to Heer?

Email your answer to info@frankbrazil.org
With your full Name & Address
Add “competition” in subject header box
Deadline for entries: Sunday 24th November 2013
at 12 midnight (GMT)

The winner will be chosen at random from a draw of correct answers and will be announced on our Facebook page in the 1st week of December and all decisions are final.
One entry per person & we welcome entries worldwide.

*to find out more about the films visit www.frankbrazil.org
Photo: COMPETITION WIN “*The Punjab Trilogy” on DVD Kitte Mil Ve Mahi / Where The Twain Shall Meet Rabba Hun Ke Kariye /Thus Departed Our Neighbours Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te / Let’s Meet At Baba Ratan’s Fair We are giving away one complete set of The Punjab Trilogy, documentary films by Ajay Bhardwaj. To enter the competition just answer this question: Who passes the message that Ranjha has arrived disguised as a Jogi to the Khaira’s village to Heer? Email your answer to info@frankbrazil.org With your full Name & Address Add “competition” in subject header box Deadline for entries: Sunday 24th November 2013 at 12 midnight (GMT) The winner will be chosen at random from a draw of correct answers and will be announced on our Facebook page in the 1st week of December and all decisions are final. One entry per person & we welcome entries worldwide. Good luck! Tajender Sagoo, Director/curator at Frank Brazil. *to find out more about the films visit www.frankbrazil.org

Ajay Bhardwaj – Three Films on Punjab at frankbrazil.org

Posted in Events, Film by gsjandu on August 30, 2013
ajay bhardwaj

ajay bhardwaj

The PRG is pleased to announce that Ajay’s three films on Punjab are now available on DVD via a new platform recently launched called www.frankbrazil.org. Below is a little about Tajender’s wonderfully named website:

What is Frank Brazil?

The name Frank Brazil was an alias of the Indian revolutionary Udham Singh.

Frank Brazil is an intiative launched in August 2013 by artist Tajender Sagoo. She graduated from Central Saint Martin’s in textile design, specialising in weaving. Sagoo went on to teach and work as a weaver before pursuing a career as an artist and curator.

We aim to be a platform for South Asian* communities in the UK and overseas. Frank Brazil will assist in generating new ways of seeing South Asian everyday cultures and languages. 

Another core aim of Frank Brazil is to encourage South to South conversations to facilitate the building of knowledge systems outside of western hegemony.

We seek to work with organisations, community groups, thinkers, makers, writers, artists and activists to produce, commission and merchandise new work. 

We are particularly interested in presenting rare and challenging work in art and design to a wider audience. 

We do not subscribe to any elitist hierarchy of art and design and aim to be an open and participatory arts organisation. 

We work on digital and non-digital platforms and media.

We use the pricing mechanism as a tool to distribute our work and to benefit artists. Any surpluses created through this pricing policy will be distributed to good causes. 

*For South Asia read India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and communities worldwide including Trinidad, Kenya, Guyana, Uganda, South Africa, Jamaica, Canada, UK, Europe and USA.

Details available at:

E: info@frankbrazil.org

T: 075 3047 2483

Send postal enquiries to:

Frank Brazil c/o Tajender Sagoo

Limehouse Town Hall

646 Commercial Road

London

E14 7HA

This post’s contact: gorby.jandu@gmail.com

 

Anand Patwardhan’s Portraits of India

Posted in Events, Film by Pippa on February 12, 2013

jai bhim comradeThe work of India’s foremost film essayist
23 – 25 February 2013
Legendary film maker Anand Patwardhan brings a cinematic eye to pressing issues facing India and the world today. Fiercely independent and never afraid to take on the censors, he writes and edits passionate, probing, timely and timeless films.

To open three days of introduced screenings and discussion we will show the award-winning film, Jai Bhim Comrade. A special event to follow will feature Anand Patwardhan in conversation with poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson.

“Legendary director Anand Patwardhan’s epic doc about dalit people is a massive, musical, magnificent, masterpiece” – Mark Cousins on Jai Bhim Comrade

“…a tour de force, beautifully shot and often darkly funny…” – Duncan Campbell on War and Peace in The Guardian

Further details: http://www.bfimessages.org.uk/t/ViewEmail/y/4C53B01AE72E9A13/70E856DF948D6100419C69E1CEBE89F9

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MILANGE BABEY RATAN DE MELE TE (LET’S MEET AT BABA RATAN’S FAIR)

Posted in Events, Film by Pippa on October 26, 2012
Documentary screening: Sufism and the Dalits of East Punjab

Followed by discussion with the director Ajay Bhardwaj and Prof. Amin Mughal
Time: 7pm, Tuesday 13th November 2012
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Hosted by: SOAS Pakistan Society
This film explores the idea of Punjabiyat, in ways seen and unseen, in the way it continues to inhabit the universe of the average Punjabi’s everyday life, language, culture, memories and consciousness. This is the universe that this film stumbles upon in the countryside of East Punjab, in India. Following the patters of lived life, it moves fluidly and eclectically across time, mapping organic cultural continuities at the local levels. It is a universe, which reaffirms the fact that cultures cannot be erased so very easily. It is where the love of Heer and Ranjah rather than the divisions of the priestly class are celebrated. This is a universe marked by a rich tradition of cultural co-existence and exchange, where the boundaries between the apparently monolithic religious identities of ‘Hindu’, ‘Muslim’ and ‘Sikh’ are blurred and subverted in the most imaginative ways.

“Bhardwaj’s film further attests to the great pull the soil exercises over the people who were once rooted in it but had been forced to leave, “ Ishitaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University.

http://ajaybhardwaj.in/

Poster: SOAS poster 2
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Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te – Lets Meet at Baba Ratan’s Fair

Posted in Events, Film by Pippa on October 26, 2012
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Unthreatening the Sikh Turban – Reflections of Wisconsin Shootings

Posted in Articles, Diaspora, Film, Migration, News/Information, sikhs by harjant on September 2, 2012

Unthreatening the Sikh Turban – Reflections on Wisconsin Shootings by Harjant S. Gill

[W]e must discourage the use of mistaken identity narrative because to an extremist like…the gunman who carried out the Wisconsin shooting, it matters little if his victims are Sikhs or Muslims. We must denounce all acts of violence against any religious groups. More importantly, we must also hold our politicians,policy makers, political pundits and ourselves responsible for creating a climate of hostility and hate… read more: Anthropology-News.org

Father, Son and Holy War by Anand Patwardhan at the Phoenix Cinema

Posted in Film, News/Information by hassanjavid on March 29, 2012

Father, Son and Holy War  Pitra, Putra aur Dharmayuddha, (1995, Hindi with English subtitles)

Director Anand Patwardhan

On Sunday 22 April  2012 at 2pm (Free, but booking is required)

at

Phoenix Cinema
52 High Road
East Finchley
London
N2 9PJ
020 8444 6789
www.phoenixcinema.co.uk

The Phoenix is proud to announce the next date in our ‘From the Archives’ series, as part of our Centenary celebrations. On Sunday 22nd April 2012, The Phoenix will hold a free screening at 2pm of Anand Patwardhan’s multi-award-winning documentary Father, Son and Holy War.
In this film from 1995, Patwardhan argues that in a politically polarised world, universal ideals are rare. In India, and as in many regions, the vacuum is filled by religious bigotry in which minorities become scapegoats for every perceived ill. He explores the possibility that the psychology of violence against “the other” may lie in male insecurity, itself an inevitable product of the very construction of “manhood.”

The screening will be followed by a discussion with panellists including Dr Kalpana Wilson LSE Gender Institute and Professor Emeritus Gautam Appa LSE.

The Colonial Eye: British Empire Images of the Punjab

Posted in Film, News/Information by hassanjavid on February 6, 2012

“The Colonial Eye: British Empire images of the Punjab, India 1912 – 1947”.

On Sunday 19th February 2012 at 2pm (Free, booking is required)
at Phoenix Cinema 52 High Road East Finchley London N2 9PJ 020 8444 6789 (for bookings) www.phoenixcinema.co.uk

As part of the Phoenix Cinema ‘ From the Archives’ series Tajender Sagoo has curated a series of short films produced during the British rule of India with a focus on the Punjab. The screening will bring together public information and travelogue films found in British public archives and rarely seen on the big screen. (mostly silent films).

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with four specialists on South Asian film, popular culture and history: Dr Virinder Kalra of the University of Manchester, Dr Yasmin Khan of Royal Holloway, University of London, Dr Anandi Ramamurthy of the University of Central Lancashire and Dr Richard Osbourne of Middlesex University.

Roots of Love

Posted in Film, News/Information by harjant on January 28, 2012

Told through the stories of six different men ranging in age from fourteen to eighty-six, Roots of Love documents the changing significance of hair and the turban among Sikhs in India. We see younger Sikh men abandoning their hair and turban to follow the current fashion trends, while the older generation struggles to retain the visible symbols of their religious and cultural identity.

“Beautifully conceived and shot…Pleasure to watch… A compassionate portrait of a community in transition…”
— Safina Uberoi, filmmaker and director of My Mother India and A Good Man

Awards:  “Best Student Film” – 2011 Society for Visual Anthropology

ORDER NOW! for your university and academic institutions.

More Info: www.TilotamaProductions.com

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