From Africa… to India: Sidi Music in the Indian Ocean Diaspora

by Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy and Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy
74 min., 2003

Sidis descend from Africans who sailed across the Indian Ocean to the west coast of India over many centuries. This documentary project explores the expressions of their Indian and African cultural heritage.

  • The video begins in the Sidi Fort at Janjira Island, built during the heyday of Sidi powers in the Mughal period.
  • It then surveys the music and dances of African-Indian men, women, and children in Karnataka, Hyderabad, Bombay, and Gujarat.
  • Exciting footage of ritual events shows the stages of music during ecstatic trance, exorcism, and celebratory rites, when both male and female Sidi Sufi saints are invoked through euphoric rhythms, voices, and communal dances.
  • Musical instruments such as footed drums, coconut rattles, armpit-held drums, and braced musical bows show the retention of African musical practices.
  • In excerpts from a conference for Sidis and scholars, Sidis present their own views on their history, contemporary issues, and future prospects.
  • The film concludes with exciting concert footage from the first international Sidi tour of England and Wales in 2002.

For more information, go to APSARA Media for Intercultural Education: http://apsara-media.com

Kashmir: Valley of Despair

44 min., 1998

This film by Marion Mayer-Hohdahl travels to the Kashmir valley at the foot of the Himalayas to investigate the history of Kashmir, along with the political, religious and ethnic roots of the continuing conflict there. Resentment of the occupying Indian forces, problems caused by the radicalization of Islam among Kashmiri rebels and the impact of the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan are discussed.

Kasthuri: A South Indian Film Star

By Richard Breyer and N.C. Rajamani
30 min., 1995

Depicts the daily life of a South Indian film star. By following her from rehearsals to fan club appearances as well as shopping with her mother, the film uncovers the paradox between her public and private lives. Despite being a successful career woman, the twenty-one-year old Kasthuri is content to have her parents arrange a suitable marriage to a man of their choosing.

Kandahar

By Mohsen Makhmalbaf
85 min., 2001

Nafas is a reporter who was born in Afghanistan, but fled with her family to Canada when she was a child. However, her sister wasn’t so lucky; she lost her legs to a land mine while young, and when Nafas and her family left the country, her sister was accidentally left behind. Nafas receives a letter from her sister announcing that she’s decided to commit suicide during the final eclipse before the dawn of the 21st century; desperate to spare her sister’s life, Nafas makes haste to Afghanistan, where she joins a caravan of refugees who, for a variety of reasons, are returning to the war-torn nation. As Nafas searches for her sister, she soon gets a clear and disturbing portrait of the toll the Taliban regime has taken upon its people.

Kaise Jeebo Re! (How Do I Survive, My Friend!)

By Anurag Singh and Jharana Jhaveri
80 min., 1997

In the name of “national interest” men, women and children have been forced out of their homes and lands so that a dam, a mine, a factory or a wildlife sanctuary can be built. Their struggles against this process have been crushed, marginalized or ignored. What happens to their lives after uprootment? The film meets them in India’s city-streets and rural areas as labor, rickshaw-puller, domestic help and the uprooted. “Kaise Jeebo Re!” records the victims account of this uprootment, in this case caused by dams built on the river Narmada; Bargi Dam in the Central state of Madhya Pradesh. It records the arduous and heroic story of a people who have come together to fight a determined battle for justice.

Journeys into Islamic India

50 minutes, 2006 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Muslims arrived in India the same year they entered Spain – and by the end of the 13th century ruled nearly all of the county. This program travels across India by way of Iran, Pakistan, and the Maldives to examine the rich Islamic heritage of the region. The program also observes the Muslim way of life on the subcontinent as it exists today. Sites of note include the Taj Mahal, the Golkonda Fort ruins, and the Charminar monument.

India: Defying the Crown

(Part of a Force More Powerful Series)
By Steve York
30 min., 2000

In 1930, Indian nationalists were impatient with British foot-dragging on promises to move India toward self-rule, and appointed Mohandas Gandhi to lead “the final struggle for freedom.” Relying on the nonviolent methods he developed in South Africa, Gandhi led a 240-mile march to the seacoast, where he picked up a handful of sea salt and invited his countrymen to do the same – in open violation of the British monopoly on salt production. Millions followed his example. His campaign of civil disobedience – intentional law breaking and imprisonment – swept the country, forcing the British Viceroy to admit that his regime was losing control. Gandhi’s actions shattered Indian consent to foreign rule and set his country on the road to independence, which came in 1947. To future generations, Gandhi gave the weapon of nonviolent resistance, which is being continuously refined and developed.