An Interview with Amitabh Chakraborty (Director)
Fakirs, the Unorthodox Reality
Q: I felt that the flow of the movie and the music were interlocked, was this deliberate? What is music for the fakirs?
AC: More than the flow of the people’s movement, I edited the movie around the physical flow of the music. The fakirs use their songs as a medium to transmit knowledge. All through history, this is a method used to transmit various accumulated knowledge in the form of songs to the common villagers. Through music, knowledge is carried on like constant live knowledge.
Q: During the festival to commemorate the wali, was the person wearing the purple sari and dancing cheerfully a woman?
AC: No, it was a eunuch. At the fakir festival, people who are not accepted by the mainstream society, meaning people with disabilities or people having all sorts of problems, gather because there they have a place to express themselves.
Q: The way the fakirs think, will it ever be accepted in the mainstream Islamic society?
AC: In mainstream Islam the way of the fakirs is completely unacceptable. This is also a kind of political conflict. In the caste system the fakirs are the bottom while the followers of mainstream Islam are at the top. These people want to follow a religion with strong organization. The fakirs and mainstream Islam are incompatible on both political aspect and class aspect.
Furthermore, the fakirs’ main teaching is that everything emerges from sexual energy. It is not about the control of sexual desires that people always talk about, for the fakirs are trying to interiorize their sexual desires and energy. In the reality of human sexual activity, the man comes out and the woman accepts in her. So, the woman is the only one able of taking in her the sexual energy. This is why women become necessary. Regarding this aspect, there is equality between man and woman in the fakir society. This is also very modern. However, unless you are a very progressive person, it is difficult to accept and implement this. I think that in a society that drags convention and past, it is reasonable enough to say that this way of thinking is not accepted.
Q: Can you tell us about your next movie, Cosmic Sex—A Dialogue with Gandhi?
AC: The last scene of this movie, the kiss between the man and the woman, is the starting point of my next movie. I focus even more on sexual energy. The question of controlling sexual energy is a theme in Islam but also in Hinduism. Gandhi was sublimed in supreme abstinence, he was a person with no sexual relationship at all. This kind of person is called “Brahmacharya” in India. Gandhi, through acts of helping people, became “Brachacharya” from sexual energy and finally ascended to the state of non-violence. On the other hand, the fakirs, through sexual activity, are able to control their sexual energy. What Gandhi said about not having sexual relationships, and eventually refusing to allow women near, might be some sort of disdain for women. I want to show this contrast in my next movie.
(Compiled by Hua Chun)
Interviewers: Hua Chun, Nishioka Hiroko / Interpreter: Kawaguchi Yoko / Translator: Maxime Berson
Photography: Kusunose Kaori / Video: Kusunose Kaori / 2007-10-06