Movies sing to the audience

Movies sing to the audience

Sufism at its best: Theme based performances elicit good reviews

Movies sing to the audience

Films screened at the Bahuroopi film festival, are not only in harmony with the theme of the festival, but they have successfully struck a chord with many who have queued up to watch them at Sriranga. 

The films have concentrated on oppressions faced by various populations, while depicting how the oppressed made use of art and music to unite themselves and start a revolution against the oppressors.

The genres of films screened included music documentaries, tracing the history of folk traditions to the contribution of music in social revolutions; musical collage, conveying a lot without uttering a word; and renowned movies, where the focus was again on music.

With ‘Sufism’ being the theme of Bahuroopi, the film festival has gone hand in hand with it, gripping the audience with tales that not only provoked thoughts, but also evoked reactions.

Movies, at the festival, have usually ended with deep silence, signalling thoughtfulness, or a loud round of applause, depicting admiration and a connect with the movie that was screened.With more than three days to go, and other musical films and documentaries set to be screened at the festival, movie buffs are assured a treat.

Convenor of the film festival, Manu M, said that the titles were chosen from 120 titles, which related to the philosophy of Sufism. “Whenever we speak of Sufism, we notice that the literature and attempts at social reforms, are key aspects. Through the film festival, we wanted to show that such situations existed around the world,” he said.

The Indian movies screened at the film festival, depict the attempts being made to rid the differences in Indian society, he added.

The Kabir project

A four part documentary series on Kabir, directed by Shabnam Virmani is being screened during the festival. The last part of the series, ‘Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein’, which won the special jury prize during the 58th National Awards, will be screened today.

‘Had - Anhad’, ‘Chalo Hamara Des’ and ‘Koi Sunta Hai’, all based on the folk tradition of renowned saint-poet, Kabir, provides a unique insight into the living literary and musical traditions of India. In ‘Koi Sunta Hai’, the director traces dialects and poems of Kabir, in which one can see how his secular traditions and ‘Nirgun’ philosophy has manifested in the life and music of people. 

‘Chalo Hamara Des’ and ‘Had-Anhad’ are also explorations of Kabir and his influence on contemporary society. 

Unknown music

It is hard to escape the various forms of music being introduced, with the help of film festival. Though music used in the films are different in terms of rhythm, tone, beat and sound, the various documentaries screened shows how similar they are, despite the noticeable differences.

‘Flamenco: Gypsy Soul’, (which was not listed among the movies to be screened), explored how Flamenco, a Spanish folk music and dance form resulted during the political upheaval in Spain. The film by Elizabeth Kinder features performances by gypsy blacksmiths to goat herders and shows how pain, suffering and torture, which gypsies have encountered wherever they have lived, transformed their lives, making them expert musicians. 

The poems, first written centuries ago, are fresh in the memories of gypsies, and offer a reminder of their troubled pasts.


Being the only city to be situated in two continents, Istanbul is a cradle of art and literature. ‘Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul’, is a journey through the music scene in modern Istanbul, capital of Turkey. The film captures how music has transformed in the recent decades in the city. The film also traces the lives of street musicians, torn apart by poverty, civil unrest and drug addiction, whose only solace is music. The fate of Kurds, whose music was banned during the dictatorial regime in Turkey is also an eye-opener on how communities can be subjugated and the most basic pleasures of their lives be taken away from them.
Freedom songs

Though non-violence was the modus operandi towards acheiving freedom both in India and South Africa, in South Africa however, it was musical non-violence that helped South Africa finally put an end to apartheid. ‘Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony’, is a gripping and moving account of the five decades of strife and struggle. The documentary by Lee Hirsch shows how ‘freedom songs’ were composed by laymen to reflect the changing political circumstances and attitudes in the country. 

‘Crazy Stranger’, a Romanian movie directed by Tony Gatlif, one of the few feature films at the festival, provided an insight into the life of gypsies, who are on a constant move. While the protagonist in the movie is searching for the singer of song recorded by his father, his life is transformed as he begins a life with gypsies.

Samsara, a Mark Madigson musical collage, spoke of several issues minus dialogues. The powerful movie, provides insight into the major problems affecting the world, with stunning visuals and soulful music.

What’s next?

Though many world class movies and documentaries have already been screened, a few have been lined up for those who have not been able to make it to the screenings in the past three days. ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’, an Anand Patwardhan documentary, and ‘Rebel Music-The Bob Marley Story’ are expected to be the crowd pullers.

The movies being screened on Saturday, apart from Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein at 10.30 am, are ‘Berlin: Symphony of a Great city’ at 12 noon; and ‘Ganayogi Panchakshari Gavayi’ at 3 pm.On Sunday, ‘Bishar Blues’ will be screened at 10.30 am, ‘Rebel Music-The Bob Marley Story’ at 12 noon; and ‘Santha Gnaneshwara’ at 3. 

On Monday, last day of the film festival, ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’, and ‘Santha Tukaram’ will be screened at 10.30 am and 3 pm, respectively. 

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