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Film "The Gulabi Gang" at Karlstorkino with Nishtha Jain

12. Nov. 2014

The movie "The Gulabi Gang" (2014) was shown at the Karlstorkino on November 15, 2014. Filmmaker Nishtha Jain was present during the screening and available for questions afterwards. The event was organised by the HERA project "SINGLE", initiated by Prof. Christiane Brosius, together with the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University.

The plot of the movie is set in Bundelkhand, India, where a revolution is in the making among the poorest of the poor, as the fiery women of the Gulabi Gang empower themselves and take up the fight against gender violence, caste oppression and widespread corruption. Led by the energetic and charismatic Sampat Pal, they travel long distances to fight for the rights of women and Dalits, a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchable. They encounter resistance, apathy and corruption, even ridicule. Sometimes whole villages connive against them to protect the perpetrators of violence. While the movie portraits Gulabi Gang members struggling against gender violence and state corruption, it also shows the flip side – members getting sucked by the trappings of their new found power. Breaking away from the deep-rooted patriarchal structure is a challenge even for the most fearless amongst them. The film pulls us into the centre of these blazing conflicts and uncovers a complex story, disturbing yet heartening. It was awarded, amonst many others, with prizes at film festivals such as the New York India Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival or the Tri-Continental Film Festival (South Africa).

The filmmaker Nishtha Jain graduated from the Jamia Mass Communication Centre in New Delhi. She worked as an editor and correspondent for video news magazines Newstrack and Eyewitness before she studies at the Film and Television Institute of India, specializing in film direction. From her first film City of Photos in 2004 to Gulabi Gang in 2012, she has been exploring the human condition in its myriad states. As a result, her films have dealt with a broad range of topics, such as complexities of social hierarchies and the middle-class sense of entitlement and privilege or women's movements and social change. Also, politics of image-making and nature of memory, as well as ethical implications of documentary filmmaking have also been addressed in her work. Her films have been shown extensively in international film festivals and occasionally in art exhibitions. They have won several prestigious awards and been broadcast on international TV networks and regularly shown in schools and colleges in India and abroad.

The film screening was introduced by Dr. Roos Gerritsen, lecturer at the Institute of Anthropology at Heidelberg University, who also moderated the question and answer session with Nishtha Jain following the screening. The event was funded by the HERA-project "SINGLE" and the South Asia Institute (SAI) of Heidelberg University.

The research project "Creating the ,New' Asian Woman: Entanglements of Urban Space, Cultural Encounters and Gendered Identities in Shanghai and Delhi" (SINGLE) examines the role of female singles in the Asian megacities Shanghai and Delhi, and how this role is subject to change due to the influence of globalization. It is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius, Professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS).

The Karlstorkino is a popular place for culture and arts in Heidelberg. It offers an arthouse program with rare classics and feature films and other cultural events.

Watch the film trailer on YouTube

Related article: Review by Prof. Brosius of the book "Pink Sari Revolution"

Press release: Dokumentarfilm über die Pink-Sari-Bewegung in Indien


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  • Still from the movie "The Gulabi Gang" (2014). Source: www.raintreefilms.com