International festival dedicates a section to Indian documentaries

  • Kanika Sharma, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2015 22:33 IST

From the life of cows, considered holy in India, to the hybrid English that tourist guides speak. These are two of the interesting subjects that caught the fancy of documentary filmmakers and will be showcased at the Made in India section of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

This time, the 'Made In' section of the world-renowned non-fiction film festival, is dedicated to India, and will be held from April 23 to May 3 at Toronto, Canada.

Spandan Banerjee’s English India, Parvez Sharma’s A Sinner in Mecca and Panchagavya by Shriya Pilgaonkar and Hana Kitasei will have their world premieres at the festival.

“We wanted to showcase India’s contribution to cinema. The nine films have varied subjects. The high calibre work is a testament to the Indian film community, which I’m sure is going to showcase more exciting work in the coming years,” said Charlotte Cook, director of programming of the festival.

Training his lens on the status English enjoys in India, national award-winner filmmaker, Delhi-based Spandan Banerjee, 40, made English India. The first part of the trilogy puts the spotlight on Indian tourist guides, who try to lure new-age tourists with their brand of the language.

“It is a film about people who use the language for their livelihood, yet are intimidated by the language. It is a film about disparate characters bound by a language in a country of many languages and dialects,” Banerjee says.

Made by directors Shriya Pilgaonkar, 25, and Hana Kitasei, 27, Panchagavya pans the lives of cows in Bikaner, Rajasthan, and how they ingest plastic. “A cow is worshipped for panchagavya. It gives you the five holy products as per Hinduism – ghee, curd, milk, urine and dung – yet at the end of their lives, all that is left of them is a ball of plastic, as we discovered at a dumping ground near Bikaner.”

A Sinner in Mecca by New York-based Parvez Sharma is an autobiographical take on how a homosexual person goes to Hajj and films the Kaaba, risking death if caught.

The other six films include Journey with Prabhat by Samarth Dixit and Jessica Sadana; Placebo by Abhay Kumar; Small Things, Big Things by Saumyananda Sahi; Silent Voices by Pritha Chakraborty; Superstars of Koti by Anuj Adlakha and Farha Alam; and Imraan, c/o Carrom Club by Udita Bhargava.

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