INDIA Publications / index / New Asian Currents

Apart from his films, shown in the International Competition of YIDFF '93 and '95, Anand Patwardhan's video works show how this alternative medium can serve as a powerful tool for activists to promote their missions. We Are Not Your Monkeys is an 'activist MTV clip,' in which new lyrics added to traditional tunes oppose the systematic oppression and negation of basic human rights in the name of religion and mythology. Occupation: Mill Worker follows workers' strikes, demonstrations, and clashes with police over several years after the sudden closure of a textile mill.

Occupation: Mill Worker

Director, Script, Editing, Producer: Anand Patwardhan
Photography: Anand Patwardhan, Simantini Dhuru
Music: Aavhaan Natya Manch
Sound: Simantini Dhuru
Source: Anand Patwardhan
Phone: 91-22-4143782 / Fax: 91-22-4142946
INDIA / 1997 / Hindi, Marathi /
Color / Video / 20 min

Anand Patwardhan

Made documentaries about social and political issues in India for the last twenty years, also involved in various peoples' movements. Recently made three feature length films against religious fundamentalism. Most of his acclaimed films were banned by State-controlled TV and distribution networks but this year two films were finally telecast following a 6 year court battle. With funding for 16mm independent documentary filmmaking drying up in recent years, he has opted for shooting on amateur Hi-8 rather than giving up the possibility of filming events and attitudes that are hard to market.

His films include: In the Name of God (1992, shown at YIDFF '93; awarded Citizens' Prize), Father, Son and Holy War (1994, shown at YIDFF '95; awarded Special Prize)


Director's Statement

Textile mills were once the backbone of Bombay's economy. Workers in their thousands brought the city its working class culture. Today increased foreign investment and rising real-estate prices have made it more profitable to sell mill lands than to run mills. Mill 'sickness' is now an epidemic.

Occupation: Mill Worker records on Hi-8 video, events after a 4-year lock-out by management, when workers forcibly occupied The New Great Eastern Mill.

We Are Not Your Monkeys

(16k) Director, Photography, Editing, Producer: Anand Patwardhan
Script: Daya Pawar, Sambhaji Bhagat, Anand Patwardhan
Music: Sambhaji Bhagat
Sound: Narinder Singh
Cast: Sambhaji Bhagat and Party
Source: Anand Patwardhan
INDIA / 1997 / Hindi, Marathi / Color / Video / 5 min

Director's Statement

For over four thousand years a brutal caste hierarchy in India claimed divine status for exploitation. The "higher" castes dehumanized the lower, depicting them as "untouchable" yet living off their labor. Where did caste come from? History, religion, and literature are recorded by the elite -- the lower castes were explicitly denied the right to education.

Scholars examining the ancient Sanskrit literature upon which much Hindu mythology depends, have found references to a victory by nomadic Aryan tribes over a darker-skinned indigenous population. As "varna" the Sanskrit word for caste means "color" perhaps one function of the caste system with its strict prohibition of inter-caste mingling, was preserving the racial purity and privilege of the conqueror.

Today people of lower caste are shaking off notions of divine inferiority and retelling their story. We Are Not Your Monkeys, a song composed along with Daya Pawar and sung by Sambhaji Bhagat, gives a dalit (lower caste) perspective to the Ramayana story of Hindu legend.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee