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.