Religion through music

Religion through music

The Bengali script, subtitled in English took the viewers on an intense 79-minute journey through the lives of the Fakirs of Bengal, examining their music and their deeply spiritual everyday life that is inclusive in nature rather than exclusive unlike most organised religions.

The film seeks to explain that while all fakirs agree on Allah, Mohammed, the Prophet and the Koran they also go on to freely interpret the same. The fakirs live by a multi-textured mythology of Islam without the official sanction of any centralised authority with every individual fakir ‘adding his own twist to the tale’. The film actively gives rise to several interesting questions about the co-existence of religion and diversity and the basic similarity of man across geographical and linguistic boundaries.

“Knowing oneself is knowing god” believe the fakirs and they live and practice that belief in their daily lives. Recently screened in New Delhi, the film bagged the Golden Lotus for the best non-feature film at the 54th National Film Awards. It also won in the Editing and Audiography categories. To gather material for this path-breaking film, Chakraborty travelled through remote areas in West Bengal like Birbhum, Murshidabad, Nadia and Burdwan. He met and interacted with the fakirs and their extended network at their homes, mazars and festivals like the Pathar Chapodi mela.

The film took three years to complete with over 50-60 hours of footage. It was funded by the India Foundation for the Arts, and was successfully screened at the Amsterdam IDFA Documentary Festival as well as Munich, Japan and select Indian cities.
He also managed to screen it in four districts of West Bengal. “It brought to light many aspects of the fakirs that people were not aware of before watching the film,” says Chakraborty.

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