Land of My Dreams

INDIA / 2023 / Hindi, English / Color / Digital File / 74 min

- Director, Photography, Editing: Nausheen Khan
Music: Kush Asher
Source: Nausheen Khan

At the director’s alma mater, student protests erupt with Muslims at the forefront. They oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which would grant citizenship to refugees living in the country, consequently excluding Muslims from the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The police beat them down with batons. The voices of protest go unheard, and when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) comes into effect, opposition movements spread to every region. Eventually people begin to gather in Shaheen Bagh, a neighborhood where many Muslims live. A stunning look at a large-scale protest, where women anxious about the future come together. As a woman and a Muslim, the director lends an ear to a diverse range of voices, while also reflecting on herself. (MA)

[Director’s Statement] The story of women who led a peaceful prodemocracy movement against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (2019). The women of Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi confronted systemic and social repression to protest for over a hundred days, galvanizing resistance across the nation and setting a precedent for a new form of public dissent. As a Muslim woman, I question contemporary notions of belonging, patriotism, and identity in India by examining shared human responses to exclusion, polarization, and repression. This film is a testament to the power of love in times of blatant and unapologetic oppression.

- Nausheen Khan

An independent filmmaker working on gender perspectives amid conflict and political unrest in contemporary times. Recent work has been about women’s and children’s issues in Kashmir. Pushed to the Wall (2019), a film she co-developed about the impact of violence and conflict on Kashmiri youth was screened at the NIRIN NAARM exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in 2020. Land of My Dreams is her first self-funded featurelength documentary film. It won the award for Best Long Documentary at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, 2023.