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Online Dalit Film Festival 2024

The Online Dalit Film Festival 2024 is a celebration of resistance, resilience, and the power of storytelling. It is a platform to amplify the voices of Dalit filmmakers who are challenging the status quo and redefining Indian cinema.  For far too long, the visual narrative of Dalit lives has been dictated by an outsider’s gaze. This gaze has often perpetuated stereotypes, relegated Dalit characters to the margins, and failed to capture the richness and complexity of their experiences. We’ve seen Dalits portrayed as one-dimensional figures – the downtrodden, the villainous, or the comical sidekick. These depictions not only erase the rich diversity within the Dalit community but also reinforce the very caste prejudices the medium should strive to dismantle. 

We believe that true representation comes from within. We need more Dalit directors, producers, actors, and storytellers at the helm. They are the ones who can bring authenticity and depth to the portrayal of Dalit lives, showcasing their struggles, triumphs, and the vibrant tapestry of their culture. Through screenings, Q&A sessions, and a panel discussion, the festival seeks to educate and engage audiences on themes of caste, social justice, and the Dalit experience. We hope to foster a dialogue that challenges discriminatory practices and promotes a more inclusive future in Indian cinema.

Join us for the following screenings every Thursday:

The festival kicks off on Thursday, July 4th, 2024, with a screening of The Discreet Charm of the Savarnas by Rajesh Rajamani. This film exposes the hypocrisies of the ‘upper caste’ filmmakers.

July 11th, 2024: Champaran Mutton by Ranjan Umakrishn Kumar is a film that underscores the themes of caste politics and discrimination. Yarigu Helonu Bayda by Ajay Tambe is a commentary on Brahmanical society, cultural biases, and the intricate dynamics of love, friendship, betrayal, and personal conflict.

July 18th, 2024: BR Ambedkar: Now And Then (BRANT) is a feature-length documentary film by Jyoti Nisha. Driven by Dr. Ambedkar’s philosophy, the film explores the representation and assertion of Bahujan people in contemporary India.

The festival concludes on Thursday, July 25th, 2024, with a panel discussion on the subject of Dalit or anti-caste themed films in India. We’ll be joined by distinguished scholars Harish S. Wankhede, Amit Kumar, and Rajesh Rajamani to discuss the scope and limitations of such films, paving the way for a future of inclusive storytelling.

Organiser

Neeraj Bunkar is a PhD Scholar at the Department of English, Linguistics, and Philosophy at Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom with a specific interest in Caste, Dalit, Rajasthani folklore, Oral History and Cinema. He is researching Rajasthan-based Hindi cinema from the Dalit standpoint. His write-up in the category of PostScript: ‘Spring Thunder: Adivasi Resistance for ‘Jal, Jangal, Jameen’’ (2022) and the Book review: ‘Subalternity at the Centre: A Young Diary Demands Radical Change’ (2024) published in the Economic and Political Weekly. He regularly contributes to platforms such as Forward Press and RoundTable India.