Documentary channel

Films by Kamal Swaroop, Ranjan Palit and many more at PSBT documentary festival

The annual documentary festival will be held in Delhi’s India International centre between September 13-19.

The annual documentary festival by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, Open Frame, will be held in Delhi’s India International centre between September 13-19. The first three days of the festival will focus on workshops such as cinema in the time of mobile phones, hosted by cinematographer Ranjan Palit. A total of 21 documentary films will be screened at the festival. Barring one, Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro (2016), all are Indian.

Film screenings begin on September 17 and the first day will feature six documentaries. Juhi Bhatt’s Veil Done, which documents three women’s journey to the gym in Delhi’s Nizammudin basti, opens the festival. It will be followed by Bina Paul’s The Sound of Silence, which takes of from the Samaagathi Report on extreme gender discrimination on Kerala College Campuses and includes conversations with women about related topics. Amit Mahanti’s Scratches on Stone looks at the Nagaland’s recent history through the old photographs of long time residents. Gouri Patwardhan’s In A Shadowless Town examines how heritage walks are interacting with the Pune’s history, with a focus on the history of Dalit leaders. Iram Ghufran’s Bulbule is a meditation on drug abuse and alongside I Am Not Your Negro close the opening day.


The second day opener, Mera Dewan’s Dhun Mein Dhyan: Meditations in Music in Guru Granth Sahib explores the 500-year-history of holy book of Sikhs. Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena’s Krishna’s Waiting Room which is about the widows in Vrindavan who are awaiting death. Anandana Kapur’s Jasoosni Look Who’s Watching You is perfectly in line with modern day culture’s obsession with surveillance and focuses on India’s first female detective. Mamta Singh’s Women of Varanasi looks at the women occupying invisible spaces in the holy city. Anirban Datta’s Kalikshetra is a personal view of Kolkata’s fading history, which is followed by Kamal Swaroop’s take on the art of Atul Dodhiya, Atul. The day ends with Aparna Sanyal’s Shovana on the life and times of the classical dancer and Padmashri award-winner Shovana Narayan.


Multiple national award-winner Arvind Sinha’s Umzey Chhen-Mo documents the life of Grammy Award-nominated Lama Tashi who is renowned for his deep voice and Tibetan Buddhist chanting. Ranjan Palit’s D’Cruz and Me explores both the reel and real life of the maverick character from Tollywood’s films and his alcoholism in his time away from the arclights.

Pankaj Butalia’s Mash Up goes to Delhi’s Nizamuddin locality and focuses on two boys’ attempt to break away from their lives and make it big through their music. Prasanna Ramaswamy Sing Along Dance Across examines the shadow puppet industry. Shilpi Gulati and Jainendra Kumar Dost’s Naach Launda Naach focuses on the eponymous dance group from Bihar and has an insight into the man called the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri.

The festival concludes with Uma Chakravarti’s Ek Inquilab Aur Aaya: Lucknow 1920-1940, is set in Firanghi Mahal, an institute for rational Islamic scholarship, and explores the role of women through attempt to express themselves in a time of dramatic change.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.