In India – ‘Good girls don’t drink, flirt or party’ #Film #Vaw #moralpolicing

New Documentary Shows That Urban India Blames Women For Crimes Against Them

Mithila Phadke TNN

When filmmaker Padmalatha Ravi decided to make a documentary on society’s perceptions of women, she kept it straightforward. A motley crowd of people—from college students to domestic help—were asked what they thought a “good girl” and a “bad girl” were. “A good girl is supposed to be docile,” says a silverhaired lady. “She wears a dress which covers her wholly.” Two college-going boys giggle and say it’s the front-benchers who are tagged as good. On the other hand, “slut”, “goes to discos” and “flirts with boys” are the primary identifiers for a bad girl.
The 14-minute crowd-sourced venture, titled ‘Good Girls Don’t Dance’, is Bangalore-based Padmalatha’s response to the theme of most drawing-room discussions that follow reports of sexual abuse. Invariably, the argument returns to the same question: what was the girl doing outside at a late hour anyway? “After the Delhi incident, the issue of rape was being spoken about like never before,” she says. “I wanted to look at why women are blamed.” The film was completed earlier this year and has been uploaded online for free viewing.
Through the opinions of students, couples, seniors, and families, a troubling picture emerges. The ideal woman keeps herself covered up lest she “provokes” men, abstains from smoking, drinking and flirting. Not having an opinion of her own is also an asset, says a respondent.
The answers were a revelation, says Padmalatha, especially when people were asked who they would hold responsible in case of a rape. Only a handful said “rapist”. A majority blamed society and women. Aside from illustrating how deep stereotypes run, the documentary also disproves that progressive mindset is synonymous with education and financial wellbeing. “We asked a domestic worker if clothes play a role (in instigating rape), she was clear that a person is free to wear what he or she wants,” says Padmalatha. This was in stark contrast to numerous middle-class respondents who held a woman’s attire culpable, at least in part.
Mumbai-based filmmaker Paromita Vohra came across a similar mindset among the middleclass while filming the 2002-documentary ‘Unlimited Girls’. “Sometimes, women who had the chance to experience freedom were the ones least able to recognise that it came from a long legacy of people working for them,” says Vohra. The idea of freedom, as something to be protected, nurtured and recreated for the next generation was shrugged off, or made respondents uncomfortable. Both ‘Unlimited Girls’ and Padmalatha’s film look at how women navigate the urban jungle.
Another film that explores the same idea is ‘Mera Apna Sheher’, by Sameera Jain. Set in New Delhi, the documentary looks at how women are expected to negotiate public spaces. It had college lecturer Komita Dhanda being filmed by a hidden camera as she spends time at a park, a street corner and a paan shop. The camera records the reactions of men to her presence, ranging from confusion to lechery. “It’s something that happens around us every day,” says Jain. Only by choosing to record it does the indignity women face become a subject of debate.
However, the filmmakers have no illusion about their works offering quick solutions. “We are trying to start a conversation on a subject that people are hesitant to talk about,” says Padmalatha. After her film’s first screening in Bangalore, an elderly viewer argued for stringent punishment to keep men in line. A 16-year-old girl stepped in and asked him why there shouldn’t be a balanced approach to solve the problem. That a documentary can spark such debates is what the makers hope for, says Padmalatha.

SEX AND THE CITY: While a domestic worker (left) said people have the right to wear what they want to, students and couples who were interviewed felt that women needed to be covered up; Contemporary dancer Shabari (right) in a shot from the film


Press Release- Documentary film ‘Factories of Death and Despair”

Lucknow, 9 June.  A special screening and release function of ‘Factories of Death and Despair’ – the first documentary film presented by Arvind Memorial Trust was held here today at the UP Press Club.

The film, produced by the audio-visual division of the Trust Human Landscape Productions is focussed on frequent accidents and horrific working conditions in the thousands of factories in the national capital region. The film shows the sprawling industrial areas adjacent to the shining posh locales of national capital where workers still toil in conditions as horrible as 100 years ago. Millions of workers in order to survive work daily under the shadow of death. Safety precautions are thrown to the wind in pursuit of quick profits. Accidents happen, people are killed or maimed, but things go on unchanged behind a cold veil of silence.

The film also shows how a nexus of police, factory owners and politicians suppresses all mention of the deaths after an accident. It also reveals the flaws in compensation laws and how the workers and their families are denied fair compensation by corrupt union leaders, touts and labour officers.

Senior poet and filmmaker Naresh Saxena who presided over the function said while releasing the film that the subject of the film has become even more relevant in the backdrop of increasing industrial mishaps in the recent past. He said the audio-visual medium has become very important today to reach out to the vast masses and educate them about their rights.

The director of the film Charu Chandra Pathak shared his experiences while making the film. He said he plans to take this film to the industrial areas and workers colonies to show it to its real audiences.

On this occasion, Satyam of the Arvind Memorial Trust said that the Trust has organised its audio-visual division named Human Landscape Productions which will produce documentaries on the life and struggles of working people and common masses, mass movements and social-political issues and feature films. It has already completed the production of its first documentary film. The Trust plans to establish a fully equipped film editing and audio recording studio. The audiovisual division of the Trust is also working for audio-visual documentation of various social-political mass movements and important events. It is making a collection of world famous revolutionary and progressive films, arrange for their sub-titling and dubbing in Hindi and organise regular shows and discussions on them in different cities.

Well known poet Katyayani said that an alternative peoples media is the need of the hour and audio-visual and new media have become very important. This division of the Trust will also produce CDs and DVDs of revolutionary music and compositions. It will also organise workshops and trainings on various aspects of digital film technique and animation etc. All these projects are being implemented without taking any kind of institutional grants and solely on the basis of contributions collected from the public.

The cultural troupe of ‘Pratyush’ presented a song ‘Zindagi ne ek din kaha ki tum lado…’ at the start of the program. Age number of media persons, writers, intellectuals, social and cultural activists and students were present on this occasion. A discussion on  various aspects of the film followed the film show .


Managing Trustee

Arvind Memorial Trust

 Phone: 8853093555/9936650658, Email:


विकास की चकाचौंध के पीछे मज़दूरों के जीवन के नारकीय सच को सामने लाती है ‘मौत और मायूसी के कारख़ाने’ 
औद्योगिक दुर्घटनाओं पर डॉक्युमेंट्री फिल्म का प्रथम प्रदर्शन
लखनऊ, 9 जून। अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास द्वारा प्रस्तुत पहली डॉक्युरमेंट्री फिल्म ‘मौत और मायूसी के कारख़ाने को आज यहाँ एक कार्यक्रम में जारी किया गया।
न्यास के दृश्य-श्रव्य प्रभाग ‘ह्यूमन लैंडस्केप प्रोडक्शन्स द्वारा निर्मित यह फिल्म राष्ट्रीय राजधानी क्षेत्र के कारख़ानों में आये दिन होने वाली दुर्घटनाओं और औद्योगिक मज़दूरों की नारकीय कार्य-स्थितियों पर केन्द्रित है। फिल्म दिखाती है कि किस तरह राजधानी के चमचमाते इलाक़ों के अगल-बगल ऐसे औद्योगिक क्षेत्र मौजूद हैं जहाँ मज़दूर आज भी सौ साल पहले जैसे हालात में काम कर रहे हैं। लाखों-लाख मज़दूर बस दो वक़्त की रोटी के लिए रोज़ मौत के साये में काम करते हैं। सुरक्षा इंतज़ामों को ताक पर धरकर काम कराने के कारण आये दिन दुर्घटनाएं होती रहती हैं और लोग मरते रहते हैं, मगर ख़ामोशी के एक सर्द पर्दे के पीछे सबकुछ यूँ ही चलता रहता है, बदस्तूर।
फिल्म में यह भी अत्यंत प्रभावशाली ढंग से दिखाया गया है कि किस तरह दुर्घटनाओं के बाद पुलिस, फैक्ट्री मालिक और राजनीतिज्ञों के गंठजोड़ से मौतों को दबा दिया जाता है। मज़दूर या उसके परिवार को दुर्घटना के मुआवज़े से भी वंचित रखने में श्रम कानूनों की खामियों और दलालों और भ्रष्ट अफसरों की तिकड़मों को भी इसमें उजागर किया गया है।
कार्यक्रम की अध्यक्षता कर रहे वरिष्ठ साहित्यकार श्री नरेश सक्सेना ने फिल्म जारी करते हुए कहा कि पिछले कुछ समय के दौरान बढ़ते औद्योगिक हादसों की पृष्ठभूमि में इस फिल्म की प्रासंगिकता और अधिक बढ़ गई है। उन्होंने कहा कि आज के दौर में व्यापक आबादी तक अपनी बात पहुंचाने और उन्हें अधिकारों के बारे में जागरूक बनाने में दृश्य-श्रव्य माध्यम की भूमिका काफी महत्वपूर्ण है और इस दिशा में यह परियोजना एक जरूरी कदम है।
इस अवसर पर फिल्म के निर्देशक चारु चन्द्र पाठक ने फिल्म बनाने के दौरान अपने अनुभवों को साझा करते हुए बताया कि औद्योगिक मज़दूरों के काम के हालात और नारकीय जीवन स्थितियों को नज़दीक से देखने के बाद उन्होंने तय किया कि ग्लैमर और शोहरत की फिल्मी दुनिया में जगह बनाने की कोशिश करने के बजाय वे इस कला का इस्तेमाल उन तबकों के जीवन को सच्चाई को सामने लाने में करेंगे जो इस देश के विकास की नींव होने के बावजूद मीडिया की नजरों से दूर हैं। उन्होंने बताया कि वे इस फिल्म को मज़दूर बस्तियों और कारखाना इलाकों में लेकर जाएंगे क्योंकि वही इसके असली दर्शक हैं।
अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास की ओर से सत्यम ने बताया कि न्यास ने मज़दूरों के जीवन और संघर्ष, आम जनजीवन, जनान्दोलनों और सामाजिक-राजनीतिक मुद्दों पर डॉक्युमेंट्री और फीचर फिल्मों के निर्माण के लिए अपना दृश्य-श्रव्य प्रभाग ‘ह्यूमन लैण्डस्केप प्रोडक्शन्स’ नाम से संगठित किया है। न्यास का दृश्य-श्रव्य प्रभाग विभिन्न जनान्दोलनों और महत्वपूर्ण घटनाओं के दृश्य-श्रव्य अभिलेखन (आडियो-विज़ुअल डाक्युमेण्टेशन) का काम भी कर रहा है। यह विश्वप्रसिद्ध क्रान्तिकारी, प्रगतिशील फ़िल्मों का संग्रह तैयार कर रहा है जिनकी उनकी हिन्दी में सबटाइटलिंग और डबिंग का प्रबन्ध किया जा रहा है। जल्दी ही अलग-अलग शहरों में ऐसी फिल्मों का नियमित प्रदर्शन एवं उन पर परिचर्चा आयोजित की जायेंगी।
कार्यक्रम का संचालन कर रही कात्यायनी ने बताया कि जनता का वैकल्पिक मीडिया खड़ा करना आज बेहद जरूरी है और आडियो-विजुअल माध्यम तथा इंटरनेट आदि का उपयोग इसमें बहुत महत्व रखते हैं। उन्होंने बताया कि न्यास का यह प्रभाग क्रान्तिकारी गीतों और संगीत रचनाओं की सीडी-डीवीडी भी तैयार करेगा। समय-समय पर इसके द्वारा डिजिटल फ़िल्म तकनीक के विभिन्न पक्षों और डाक्युमेंट्री निर्माण, एनिमेशन आदि पर कार्यशालाएँ भी आयोजित की जायेंगी। ये सभी काम किसी प्रकार के संस्थागत अनुदान लिए बिना जनता से जुटाए गए संसाधनों के बूते किए जा रहे हैं। इस वजह से इनमें देर भले ही हो लेकिन ये किसी दबाव से मुक्त होकर पूरे किए जाएंगे।
दिवंगत सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता एवं बुद्धिजीवी अरविन्द के चित्र पर उनकी जीवन साथी तथा अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास की मुख्य न्यासी मीनाक्षी द्वारा माल्यार्पण से कार्यक्रम की शुरुआत हुई। इस अवसर पर ‘प्रत्यूष की ओर से ‘जिन्दगी ने एक दिन कहा कि तुम लड़ो…’ गीत प्रस्तुत किया गया। कार्यक्रम में बड़ी संख्या में पत्रकारों, लेखकों, बुद्धिजीवियों, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं, संस्कृति कर्मियों तथा छात्रों ने भाग लिया। फिल्म प्रदर्शन के बाद उसके विभिन्न पहलुओं पर दर्शकों के साथ चर्चा भी हुई।

(मीनाक्षी )
मुख्य न्यासी
अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास

फोनः 8853093555/9936650658 ईमेलः


Sparks fly at IISc over Anand Patwardhan documentary on Babri masjid razing

By Aishhwariya Subramanian | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Proving that communal tension exists even within the hallowed halls of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a heated argument broke out at IISc on Wednesday after a documentary was screened on the campus about the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The documentary, Ram Ke Naam, which is Anand Patwardhan’s controversial take on the 20-year-old issue, was screened by a student body that has representatives from both IISc and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS).

When the documentary began, some students got into an argument with the organisers over its controversial content. By the time the documentary got over, the two groups erupted into a loud argument that left several members of the audience at loss for words.

Much of the problem arose from the posters used by the organisers. The posters contained a blurb from Patwardhan himself, describing Vishwa Hindu Parishad as a “militant group”.
“They plastered these posters, calling the VHP a ‘militant group’ all across the hostels in the campus. There is already some communal tension because of it and because of these posters, there are also counter posters put up in the hostels. They are just trying to cause trouble by screening this documentary, which is full of lies and does not even want to discuss the facts,” said a PHd student from IISc who did not wish to be named.

The student body group, on the other hand, said they simply wanted to screen the documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

They also noted that several students from the IISc had written to the Students’ Council prior to the screening to get it canceled. The Students’ Council, in turn, wrote to the registrar and the public relations officer of the institute. While the administration gave the group the green signal to screen the documentary, the PRO was present the entire time.

“I just want to clarify that this documentary was not screened on behalf of the IISc but by the students’ group called Concern,” he said. Overall, the public screening was attended by close to 150 people, most of whom were from the IISc.

While the scuffle between the protesters and the organisers never turned physical, one of the protesters raised the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘.




From: ravi <>
Date: 15 December 2012 23:34

I went for the documentary screening and find this report very
problematic, right from the way it is pitched: “communal tension” in
the “hallowed halls” of IISc! The problem wasn’t one of “communal
tension”, it was more a reaction by a small group of rabidly
pro-Hindutva students to a film they feared would expose the Hindutva
movement’s blood-stained past and give the lie to its claim to
represent all Hindus.

The report describes the documentary as Anand Patwardhan’s
“controversial” take on the Ramjanbhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, and
attributes much of the problem to the publicity posters which
described the VHP as “militant”. Is any popular anti-Hindutva work
non-controversial? Why should a work be defined by the ruckus raised
by the Hindutva forces? If an adjective was badly needed, why not
“award-winning” instead of “controversial”? As for describing the VHP
as militant, I too find it problematic since the term has a fairly
neutral meaning; “fascist” would have been more accurate.

Here is my understanding of how the events unfolded. The screening was
organised by a student group called Concern
<>. Once the
screening was finalized, and necessary permissions taken from the
appropriate IISc authorities, publicity posters were put up. A motley
group of rabidly pro-Hindutva IISc students swung into action, put up
misleading counter-posters, and persuaded the Students Council
President to write to the IISc public relations officer recommending
cancellation of the film. A petition was also circulated to this
effect, and it apparently got about 100 signatures. However, Concern
folks got wind of this action, and eventually managed to let the
screening go ahead with an important caveat — there was to be no
discussion after the screening, and Concern was responsible for
evacuating the audience out of the venue once the film ended. There
was considerable uncertainty about whether the event will go ahead
until the day of the screening … The pro-Hindutva students also
threatened a legal suit if the posters describing the VHP as
“militant” were not removed, but (I think) Concern didn’t budge.

About 150-200 people came for the screening. I was about five minutes
late, but heard from a friend that when the organisers attempted a
brief intro to the film, the Hindutva group (sanghis) started shouting
and the screening was started hurriedly without an intro. Not that it
kept the sanghis quiet though. They continued to shout once in a
while, either when they were particularly aggrieved (as when none of
the Hindutva supporters interviewed in the film seemed to know exactly
when Rama was born; a sanghi in the audience asserted that Rama was
born 9.5 lakh years ago, and claimed fossil evidence to this effect!)
or to express approval for Narendra Modi or an egregious character on
screen (like when Advani barked “Mandir Wahin Banayenge” — we’ll
build the temple THERE). I think the guy who set Rama’s age at 9.5
lakh years departed midway through the screening, perhaps embarrassed
at his antics and not wanting to be identified in public (much like
the anonymous sanghi quoted in the DNA report). Another one shouted
out a suggestion: invite Subramanian Swamy to know the truth about

When the film ended, the sanghis who had stayed back started shouting
immediately. Concern folks tried to get everyone out of the room
immediately, but the sanghis wanted a captive audience. It later
turned out that they haven’t been able to muster such big audiences
for their events, so wanted to have a say then and there. In the words
of one of them, paraphrased as I remember: “When we have some events
to talk about corruption or issues of national interest, no one turns
up. But for this biased documentary, so many have come.” The room was
soon cleared, and a shouting match ensued outside. The Sanghis
departed with cries of “Jai Shri Ram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, Concern is a
Naxalite group, Ban Concern” etc.  For me, this was a good taste of
sanghi thuggery when they lack numbers and don’t have the active
support of the administration. Friends told me that a similar
screening in other campuses, such as Hyderabad Central University
which has a strong ABVP unit, would be more fraught with danger.
Likewise for events outside university campuses.

All in all, this event was an interesting contrast to the previous
screening of Ram Ke Naam that we had organised several years ago at
UIUC. The sanghis at UIUC didn’t want to crawl out of the woodwork and
stand exposed for their politics, but it turns out some of the sanghis
at IISc felt no such restraint. Perhaps they expected some support
from the neutral section of the audience, and when none was
forthcoming their boorishness took over. Such hostility to a
two-decade old documentary makes one wonder how much more rabidly they
would react to an event on contemporary Hindutva, or its practice in


#Australia Award-winning Filmmaker #David Bradbury detained on way to Koodankulam -plant

Oct 26, Deccan chronicle

Australian documentary fi­lmmaker, David Bradbury, known for his crusade ag­ainst nuclear energy, and his wife, Linda Treena Rose, were detained by the Kudankulam police on the­ir way to Idinthakarai, the hub of the struggle against the Kudankulam Nuclear Po­wer Plant (KKNPP) on Thursday morning.

Although taken to the Va­l­l­iyoor DSP’s office for que­s­tioning, the couple was re­l­­eased when the police lear­nt of Bradbury’s credenti­a­ls as a filmmaker nominated twice for the Oscar.

The Australian filmmaker has come to Tamil Nadu to make a documentary on the anti-KKNPP moveme­nt, according to filmmaker, Sreemith of Calicut, who made the Get up, Stand up documentary on the agitat­i­on and has helped coordin­a­te his trip. He revealed that Bradbury contacted him as soon as he was det­a­i­ned by the police.

The local police, who first informed the media about the detention of the couple, later denied it.


Documentary filmmaking threatened by court ruling

English: Official Reporters Without Borders lo...

Image via Wikipedia

7 February 2012

SOURCE: Reporters Without Borders

(RSF/IFEX) – 7 February 2012 – Reporters Without Borders is deeply disturbed by the precedent that a court in the northern city of Lille set on 26 January when it ordered documentary filmmaker Sophie Robert to remove interviews with three psychoanalysts from her film about the treatment of autism and to pay them a large sum in damages for “misrepresenting” their views.

“By basing his ruling on how Robert chose to edit her film, the judge assumed the mantle of journalism critic,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The ruling’s consequences increase its gravity. Even if she appeals, Robert is now at the mercy of bailiffs who are demanding immediate payment of more than 25,000 euros. After the seizure of the original interview footage in October, we are shocked yet again by the disproportionate nature of the judge’s decision.

“His arguments are extremely dangerous for the future of documentary filmmaking. Taking a position, defending a point of view – which is only natural with such a controversial subject – has been treated as misrepresentation. Will any person interviewed for a documentary now be able to request seizure of the footage and its withdrawal from the documentary? Will only toned-down, anodyne documentaries now be tolerated?”

The court ordered Robert to pay between 5,000 and 7,000 euros in damages to each of the three psychoanalysts – Eric Laurent, Esthela Solano-Suarez and Alexandre Stevens – she interviewed for her film, “The Wall – Psychoanalysis put to the Autism Test.” The court also ordered her to withdraw the interviews from the film and publish an apology, and ruled that its orders should take immediate effect, even if she decided to appeal.

The film is a scathing criticism of the way French psychoanalysts treat autistic children. It portrays their methods as backward and accuses them of blaming the parents. Although the three psychoanalysts she interviewed signed releases allowing her to edit their comments, they nonetheless brought a suit accusing her of distorting their views.

“The Wall is a contribution to the debate on a issue of public interest – using psychoanalysis to treat autism – and is therefore protected by article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which concerns free expression, and by the jurisprudence stemming from this article,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“At no time did the judge refer to the right to inform the public or the principles recognized by the European Court in Strasbourg, namely accepting a degree of exaggeration, taking account of good faith and tolerating ideas that shock or offend. He also ignored the principle that a penalty should be proportionate to the harm inflicted and the defendant’s ability to pay. Applying article 1382 of the French Civil Code, concerning civil liability, was also regrettable as it prevented Robert from benefitting from the guarantees granted by more specific legal provisions.”

Reporters Without Borders supports Robert’s appeal and hopes that the appeal court will take account of the principle of free expression, as enshrined in the constitution.

For more information:

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
rsf (@)
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51


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September 2022
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