In search of a song

In search of a song


Rasoolan Bai

The screening of the film The Other Song by Saba Dewan will be held at the Auditorium, Bangalore International Centre on August 29, 6.30 pm. The director, Sava Dewan, will be present to introduce the film and take questions after the screening.

In 1935, Rasoolan Bai,  the well-known singer from Varanasi, recorded for the gramophone a thumri, that she would never sing again — Lagat jobanwa ma chot, phool gendwa na maar (My breasts are wounded, don't throw flowers at me). A variation of her more famous song, Lagat karejwa ma chot, phool gendwa na maar (My heart is wounded, don't throw flowers at me), the 1935 recording, never to be repeated, faded from public memory and eventually got lost.

More than 70 years later, the film travels through Varanasi, Lucknow and Muzaffarpur in Bihar to search for the forgotten song. This journey opens a Pandora's box of life stories, memories, half remembered songs and histories that for long have been banished into oblivion. It brings the film face to face with the enigmatic figure of the tawaif, courtesan, ‘bai ji’ and the contested terrain of her art practice and lifestyle.

To find the lost other song, the film must understand the past and present of the tawaif and unravel the significant transitions that took place in late19th and early 20th century around the control, censorship and moral policing of female sexualities and cultural expression. The Bangalore International Centre is located at the Teri Complex, 4th Main, 2nd Cross, Domlur II Stage.

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