‘Cinema of Resistance’: Katiyan, Uttar Pradesh

This week Jashn-e-Azadi was the closing film at the 2nd Nainital Film Festival, part of the ‘Pratirodh ka Cinema‘ (Cinema of Resistance) circuit of film festivals that have been so patiently (and brilliantly) put together by film-activists of Jan Sanskriti Manch. Fast growing into a legend on the alternative cinema circuit, the Gorakhpur Film Festival (already headed for its 6th edition) has spawned a series of clones all over Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Marked by a sharp curatorial sense, and a remarkable insistence on remaining unfunded (despite many offers of funding and sponshorship) the Cinema of Resistance festivals – and the many one-off screenings and workshops that they have encouraged –  are a truly unique initiative in the democratisation of screening culture in India. (And perhaps in the world)

Jashn-e-Azadi has been shown–and allow us this little list–at the following ‘Pratirodh ka Cinema‘ events:

  • 3rd Gorakhpur Film Festival , Feb 26, 2008
  • 1st Bareilly Film Festival , Jun 8, 2008
  • 1st Patna Film Festival, Dec 27, 2009
  • 3rd Lucknow Film Festival, Oct 10, 2010
  • 1st Jabalpur Saarthak Cinema Karyashala (Meaningful Cinema Workshop) jointly organized with Pahal parivaar, Sept 4, 2010
  • 2nd Nainital Film Festival, Oct 31, 2010
    (for those who can read devanagari, a brief report on the screening from the DewalthalPost)

Quietly upstaging all these remarkable screenings though, is one that we were not witness to. I’ve received a heart-warming report about it though, from Baijnathji, who mans the sales desk at all the ‘Pratirodh ka Cinema‘ events. Here is his account, in a quick translation:

27 April. Since 1995, every year 27 April refreshes the memories of a special day for my family, because that is the day our father died an untimely death. My father was simple by temperament, but in his personality there was a commitment to struggle. From the ordinary position as a laborer, he spent his life fighting against exploitation, injustice, and atrocities, and was always seen on the side of the oppressed.

After his death, a tradition has come about of organizing something in his memory on 27 April every year. Sometimes its a story reading, sometimes a discussion on the problems of farmers. But this year our doorway saw something quite different. We remembered him as we do every year, but in a different way. In the evening about 40-50 children, some young people and some old men and women were sitting there. On a table was a television. The children were thinking that a Bollywood film will start. The older people were hopeful that it would be the Ramayana or the Mahabharata. But when my brother set up the system, and ran it, what  they began to see was Majid Majidi’s Iranian film “The Children of Heaven”. In just a little while the whispering amongst the crowd turned into silence. When it ended, there was a demand to run the same film again. But the fear of a power cut made it necessary for us to begin the second film.

Sanjay Kak’s “Jashn-e-Azadi” began. As the film went on, the silence began to break. Watching the scenes from the film people began to whisper amongst each other. After the film it was tea time. But the electricity turned it all dark. But despite this people sat on the matting outside at our doorstep till late at night talking about this film about Kashmir.

In this large village situated on the borders of Bihar, the little doorstep of our house saw a few educated young people, some children, lawyers and teachers engrossed in arguments and counter-arguments of the reality of Kashmir, and the women were even abusing the army. People were saying that such films should be shown all over the place.

Baijnath Mishra
son of late Virendra (“Vaikunth”) Mishra
Village Katiyan, Post Office Katkuiyan
Dist Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh

For those who can read Devanagari, here is the original report too: Enjoy!

२७ अप्रैल – प्रत्येक वर्ष १९९५ की २७ अप्रैल की यादें ताज़ा कर जाता है . यह दिन मेरे परिवार के लिए एक खास दिन होता है. क्योंकि इसी दिन हमारे पिताजी की असमय मृत्यु हो गयी थी . मेरे पिताजी का स्वभाव सरल एवं व्यक्तित्व संघर्षशील था . अपनी छोटी सी औकात में श्रमिक जीवन व्यतीत करते हुए, शोषण, अन्याय, व अत्याचार के खिलाफ हमेशा पीड़ितों के पक्ष में खड़े दिखाई देते थे .

उनके निधन के बाद प्रत्येक वर्ष २७ अप्रैल को उनकी याद में मेरे घर कुछ न कुछ आयोजन करने की परंपरा विकसित हो चुकी है . कभी कहानी पाठ, कभी कृषक समस्याओं पर विचार विमर्श हुआ करता था . लेकिन इस वर्ष मेरे दरवाज़े पर कुछ अलग ही दृश्य दिखाई दिया . प्रत्येक वर्ष की भांति इस वर्ष भी उन्हें याद किया गया लेकिन तरीका बदला हुआ था . शाम को कुछ ४०-५० बच्चे, कुछ युवक  व कुछ वृद्ध पुरुष और  महिलाएं बैठे हुए थे . सामने एक मेज़ पर टेलीविजन  रखा हुआ था . बच्चे यह सोच रहे थे कि कोई बॉलीवुड कि फिल्म चलेगी . वहीँ   उम्रदराज़ लोग रामायण या महाभारत देखने कि आस लगाये हुए थे . लेकिन मेरे भाई ने टेलीविजन का सिस्टम ठीक करके उसे चलाया तो माजिद मजीदी की  ईरानी फिल्म “द  चिल्ड्रेन ऑफ़ हेवन” का नज़ारा दिखाई देने लगा . कुछ ही समय बाद आपस की फुसफुसाहट मौन रूप में बदल गई . फिल्म के समाप्त होने पर उसी फिल्म को दोबारा चलाने की मांग उठाने लगे . लेकिन बिजली काट जाने की आशंका को देखते हुए दूसरी फिल्म दिखाया जाना आवश्यक था .

संजय काक द्वारा निर्देशित डॉकुमेंटरी “जश्न-ए-आज़ादी” आरम्भ हुई . और फिल्म ज्यूँ- ज्यूँ आगे बढती गयी लोगों की ख़ामोशी भी टूटती गयी . फिल्म के दृश्यों को देखकर लोग आपस में एक दूसरे से काना फूसी करना आरंभ कर दिए . फिल्म के समाप्त होने के पश्चात चाय का दौर प्रारंभ हुआ . लेकिन बिजली नें अँधेरा कर दिया. बावजूद इसके लोग देर रात तक मेरे दरवाज़े पर चटाई पर बैठे-बैठे देर रात तक कश्मीर  पर बनाई इस फिल्म के बारे में चर्चा करते रहे .

बिहार सीमा पर स्थित मेरे बड़े से गाँव के मेरे छोटे से दरवाज़े पर कुछ किसान, कुछ पढ़े-लिखे युवक, बच्चे, वकील और अध्यापक जमकर कश्मीरी हकीकत पर आपस में तर्क वितर्क करते रहे और महिलाएं तो सेना को गलियां भी दे रही थी . ऐसी फिल्म को लोग कह रहे थे कि  जगह-जगह दिखाया जाना चाहिए.

बैजनाथ मिश्र
पुत्र स्व: वीरेन्द्र (उर्फ़ वैकुण्ठ) मिश्र
ग्राम: कटियाँ , पोस्ट: काटकुइयां
जिला: कुशीनगर  (उ.प्र)



1 Response to “‘Cinema of Resistance’: Katiyan, Uttar Pradesh”

  1. 1 Sanjay Joshi November 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Dear Sanjay Ji,
    Thanx for such a high regard to Cinema of Resistance initiative and a really communicable translation of Baijnath ji’s account.

    Sanjay Joshi
    Convener, The Group, Jan Sanskriti Manch

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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


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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Festival screenings

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

Previous Previews

7 Dec 2007 / School of Oriental & African Studies & Sacred Media Cow
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
Oct 2, 2007 / University of Texas
Sep 28, 2007 / Temple University
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
Sep 23, 2007 @ MIT
Sep 22, 2007 / SALDA
Sep 21, 2007 / University of Toronto
New Haven
Sep 20, 2007 / Yale University
Sep 18, 2007 / University of Minnesota

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...]]

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



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