[ blog flash 6 – shillong ]

blogmistri will be biased- he is from shillong.

the mysterious screening journey of the film continues. technically, the first preview of the film should have been at Gorakhpur, but hindu right intervened in the city with their favourite festival- riot and to our unhappiness-delhiwallahs got the first official taste of the film not the gorakhpuris. then the film travelled to Srinagar’s truly inspirational screening followed by an exciting and very political screening at Patna– and then Shillong on saturday, 26th May 2007, 3pm.

Shillong- capital of Meghalaya-56 kms north of Cherrapunjee (wettest place on earth) is known more for its hill station charm than its cultural/political life. as in all places cursed with the discourse of tourism – Shillongites struggle between the cunning despair of tourist guide and the banal excitements of everyday life. alt-space of the freedom project which hosted the film, is one of those groups which in a very small town way has been trying to create critical/dissenting spaces through films, music, conversations, politics, etc. They were thrown out of the small place they had been functioning from, and thus had hired the 108 year old Assam Club, opposite the old Presbyterian Church in Laban,with wooden floors and colonial charm for the screening.

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Apart from the fact that we had a full house (around 130 people), thanks to Julius Basaiawmoit – an SRFTII graduate- great sound too. For the first time outside the studio setting, we could enjoy the elaborate sound design of Madhu Apsara.

Although Shillong screening was blogmistri/editor’s way of telling his town folk his reason for his regular vanishing acts to Delhi, people chose to read deep political significance in the choice of location. Their reading was to do with the usual discomfort which the societies of ‘North east’ India feel with the idea/geography of India. Historically most of the states/communities which reside here, have one time or the other challenged the territorial integrity of India. It was not that we were not aware of this connection, but we wanted to go beyond the facile similarity into the specificities of various different nationality movements. The profile of the audience was mixed- students, activists, relatives, academics… the usual. Questions- pandits, violence, islamicism, form, etc. One thing which is becoming quite exciting for us is the reaction of the ‘progressive/secular/liberal’ crowd to the religious tonality of the Azadi Movement in Kashmir. From an initial discomfort- the conversation moves on to the false dichotomies between religion/secular which the liberal discourse draws out.

Some of the reactions which we would classify as NGO/Conflict resolution industry type which blights any place where movements challenging the idea of India exists, is best exemplified by this piece which appeared in the North East Telegraph two days after the Shillong screening . Reactions of this type try to dehistoricise and reduce any struggle to a ‘conflict’ and attempts to manage and control the ‘conflict’ on behalf of the state. So the usual questions about the Peace Process, Human cost of the conflict etc.

But then an engagement which made the screening come alive for us was this short poem by Robin S Ngangom, sent to us via sms few hours after the screening.

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Jashn-e-Azadi is available through various online outlets like amazon

You can now buy a DVD of the film, or Download it and watch
More than two years in the making, Jashn-e-azadi [How We Celebrate Freedom], is a feature length documentary by film-maker Sanjay Kak which explores the implications of the struggle for Azadi, for freedom, in the Kashmir valley.

Click here to watch the Trailer

As India celebrates the 60th anniversary of it's Independence, this provocative and quietly disturbing new film raises questions about freedom in Kashmir, and about the degrees of freedom in India.

And here is a short Interview with the film-maker.

This Jashn-e-Azadi blog is an open forum for conversations about the film, about Kashmir, and about Azadi itself.

For more information about screenings, sales and broadcast write to
jashneazadifilmATgmail.com

links

For dispatches from the present

Voices of protest can be found here or call you from here

Stone in my hand

In the season of solutions, the late Eqbal Ahmad's wise words have to be remembered

Kashmir blog has the best one line blog take on Kashmir - they call it paradise, I call it home.

Zarafshan is a Kashmiri blogger whose blog (and blogrolls) are "just ways of dispersing news, views and feelings!"

For a considered discussion on the vexed issue of Pandits in Kashmir see Kasheer. And for more on this Ephemeral Existence

And a discovery called Paradise Lost

RSS Kashmir via Greater Kashmir

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previews

Festival screenings

Thiruvananthapuram
May 26, 2008 / International Video Festival of Kerala
Munich
Apr 28, 2008 / Dok.Fest
Amsterdam
Feb 10, 2008 / Himalaya Film Festival
Amsterdam
Nov 28, 2007 / International Documentary Festival
Kathmandu
Oct 12, 2007 / Film South Asia
Delhi
July 22, 2007 / Osian’s Cinefan film festival

Previous Previews

London
7 Dec 2007 / School of Oriental & African Studies & Sacred Media Cow
Leeds
6 Dec 2007 / Workshop Theatre, School of English, University of Leeds
Egham, Surrey
3 Dec 2007 / Royal Holloway, University of London
New Delhi
26 Nov 2007 / Russian Centre of Science & Culture & Magic Lantern Foundation

New Jersey
Oct 5, 2007 / College of New Jersey
New York City
Oct 4, 2007 / Columbia School of Journalism
Austin
Oct 2, 2007 / University of Texas
Philadelphia
Sep 28, 2007 / Temple University
Philadelphia
Sep 27, 2007 / University of Pennsylvania
New York State
Sep 26, 2007 / Vassar College
New York City
Sep 25, 2007 / New School for Social Research
Boston
Sep 23, 2007 @ MIT
Toronto
Sep 22, 2007 / SALDA
Toronto
Sep 21, 2007 / University of Toronto
New Haven
Sep 20, 2007 / Yale University
Minneapolis
Sep 18, 2007 / University of Minnesota

Hyderabad
Aug 10, 2007 / Pure Docs, Prasad Preview, Banjara Hills

interrupted previews!! [[ MUMBAI ...
July 27, 2007 (Fri)
Vikalp: Films for Freedom @ Bhupesh Gupta Bhawan, 85 Sayani Road, Prabhadevi
July 30, 2007 (Mon)
Vikalp: Films for Freedom @ Prithvi House, Juhu...]]

Bangalore
July 14, 2007 / Institute of Agrl. Technologies, Queens Road
Bangalore
July 13, 2007 / Centre for Film & Drama, Millers Road
Nashik
June 13, 2007, Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar Hall
Pune
June 12, 2007, National Film Archive of India Auditorium
Guwahati
May 29, 2007, Blue Moon Hotel
Shillong
May 26, 2007, Assam Club, Laban
Patna
May 12, 2007, Hindi Bhavan Hall
Srinagar
March 31, 2007, Tagore Hall
New Delhi
March 23, 2007, Sarai-CSDS
New Delhi
March 13, 2007, India Habitat Center

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