Film Screening: Naach Bhikhari Naach by Jainendra Dost & Shilpi Gulati. 19.05.2019.

As part of our Film & Documentary Screening series this month we bring to you U.K. premiere of documentary film Naach Bhikhari Naach by Jainendra Dost & Shilpi Gulati.

Programmed by Vasudha Wantu.

Archiving, documentation and a new kind of storytelling” – Cinestaan

A little-known folk art form is sweeping away barriers of caste and gender, one Launda at a time”- Hindustan Times

Naach is a form of traditional folk theatre from Bihar, India. In this tradition, male artists often crossdress as women on stage and are referred to as ‘laundas’. The most legendary name in this tradition is Bhikhari Thakur’s— an actor, playwright, and a social reformer popularly known as the ‘Shakespeare of Bhojpuri.’ The film follows the last four Naach performers to have worked with him and creates a visual archive of their performance tradition. As they share their plays, songs and a lifetime of memories, they immerse us into the world of folk theatre where we begin to see a glimpse of budhau– the old man, himself. The film has been travelling the world and has won awards at the following film festivals.

  • Gold Award, Jakarta International Film and Art Festival, 2018
  • Best Documentary, India International Film Festival of Boston, Burlington, 2018
  • Best Film, Art & Culture, Woodpecker Film Festival, India 2018

Language: Bhojpuri with English Subtitles.

Duration: 72 min

“A research scholar and a National Award-winning filmmaker join forces to explore the history and relevance of a folk theatre form from Bihar” – Indian Express

Shilpi Gulati is a filmmaker, researcher and theatre artist based out of New Delhi. Her work documents the experience and politics of regional communities in India through oral history, ethnography, performance and socially engaged art. In 2015, her documentary ‘Qissa-e Parsi: The Parsi Story’ won the National Film Award for the Best Ethnographic film in India and her latest works, ‘Lock and Key’ (2017) and ‘Naach Bhikhari Naach’ (2018), have been screened and awarded in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Korea, UK and the United States. An actor and a core member of pandies’ theatre, a feminist group based in New Delhi, Shilpi has worked with women and young adults to investigate questions of marginality using community based theatre and media tools. A Fulbright scholar, Shilpi is committed to a dialogue between theory and practice. She is a doctoral student at Jawaharlal Nehru University and currently researching contemporary documentary practice in India.

Jainendra Dost is a doctoral scholar at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. His work examines the social and political realities of Launda Nach and Bhikhari Thakur’s folk theatre in Bihar. His theoretical inquiry closely ties into his experience as a theatre practitioner over the 18 years where he has directed stage productions and acted in numerous national and international theatre presentations. Jainendra is also the Director of Bhikhari Thakur Repertory Training and Research Centre that is working towards the revival of folk theatre and Music in Bihar. In the past, his work has been supported by India Foundation for the Arts and Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Doors: 14:30 | Screening: 15:00 | Entry £5

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