The Sky Below – A film by Sarah Singh

The Sky Below will screen in Karachi at 6.30pm on November 15 at the Rangoonwala Hall.

Traversing the Divide: Award Winning Films from India on the Partition and the Sufi Poet Kabir

with an evening of Sufi Music
November 14, 15 & 16, 2008

Sponsored by Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and Pakistan Petroleum Limited

The Sky Below by Sarah Singh (2007, 75 mins)

To foster an understanding of the most poignant happening in the sub-continent, that of the Partition, where hundreds of thousands died and millions were permanently uprooted. The tragedy that still haunts the memories of the elders – the participants – is also felt by the second and third generations. Sarah Singh’s film, “The Sky Below”, beautifully filmed with the sensitivity of an artist, draws unbiased viewpoints shared through interviews and landscapes that had the boundary line artificially drawn dividing centuries’ old cultural bonds.

A contemporary portrait of India and Pakistan vis a vis the lingering fallout of the 1947 Partition of the Subcontinent. The documentary traverses the landscape, culture, history, and politics from Kutch to Kashmir in India, and from Karachi to the Khyber Pass in Pakistan.

From the shared, ancient history of the Indus Civilization, the people of the Northwest region of the Subcontinent have connections that go back millennia. In 1947, the partition of this region resulted in a legacy of suspicion and a profound inability to reconcile this political divide. In this feature documentary, a contemporary portrait of this region emerges by exploring some of the ground realities of the lingering fallout; and most importantly, if reconciliation is possible between two countries with interwoven histories, cultures, and faiths…after 60 years of strained relations and the ever-present, unresolved crisis in Kashmir.

Featuring (from both Pakistan and India) first-person stories from the time of Partition, as well as former terrorists, politicians, royalty, ordinary citizens, historians, and many others who share their insights of the past, present, and future of this volatile, yet emerging, South Asian economic bloc the film emphasizes the contrasted realities which compose this culturally connected, yet politically disconnected, region. The film also features a particular focus on some lesser known aspects of the Partition.

Journeys with Kabir

Three films by Shabnam Virmani

Shabnam Virmani’s films emphasize the Sufi message of brotherhood, how love transcends boundaries and religion. Superbly filmed, they evoke our sense of shared cultural binds through the rich music legacy.

These documentary films, journey through contemporary spaces touched by the music and poetry of the 15th century mystic weaver-poet of north India, Kabir. We meet a diverse array of people – an urban folklorist, a street fruit seller, a social activist, a Dalit folk singer, a Zen Buddhist scholar, a neo-fascist mahant, a Muslim qawwal – each encounter offering a moment of insight into the poetry and its contemporary meanings. We glimpse not one but many Kabirs. Sometimes he beckons, sometimes he baffles, but always he pushes you to self-interrogate, to question the boundaries of your identity, nation, ideology, caste and religion… making these journeys unrelentingly inward even as they venture outward.

Had-Unhad: Journeys with Kabir and Ram (102 mins)

This film is an attempt to understand Kabir’s Ram, through encounters in India and Pakistan. It delves into the heart of divisive Hindu-Muslim politics of religion and nationalism, probing the forces of history that have created disputatiously diverse Rams, while also spawning many Kabirs.

Chalo Hamara Des: Journeys with Kabir and Friends (2008, 98 mins)

A journey in search of Kabir’s “des” (country) this film unfolds through the interwoven narratives of two people from two very different countries – Dalit Indian folk singer Prahlad Tipanya and North American scholar Linda Hess. We enter the world of Kabir, through the personal and public lives of these two individuals, brought together in an unlikely friendship by the amazing universality and cross-cultural resonance of Kabir.

Koi Sunta Hai: Journeys with Kabir and Kumar (2008, 94 mins)

This film interweaves the oral folk traditions of Kabir in central India with the intensely personal narrative of the late classical singer Pt. Kumar Gandharva. Journeying between folk and classical, between rural and urban expressions of Kabir, the film finds moments of both continuity and rupture between these disparate worlds.

Evening of Sufi Music

Performance by internationally acclaimed Qavvals, Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed who will recite Kabir’s immortal verses and those of other sufi masters. Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed also feature prominently in the film Hud Unhad by Shabnam Virmani.

The Events

Friday, November 14: (by invitation)

6.30 pm: Screening of Shabnam Virmani’s award winning film, Had Unhad (120 minutes) followed by a panel discussion with the Director and invited panelists.
9.30 pm: Dinner
10.15 pm onwards: Sufi Music with Qawwals Fareed Ayaz & Abu Mohammed
Venue: The Rangoonwala Hall

Saturday, November 15: (by invitation)

6.00 pm: Refreshments
6.30 pm: Screening of Sarah Singh’s award winning Film, The Sky Below
(75 mins) followed by a panel discussion with the Director and invited panelists.
Venue: The Rangoonwala Hall (By invitation)

Sunday, November 16: for students, faculty and film makers.
venue: Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture

11.00 am: Screening of Shabnam Virmani’s Chalo Hamara Des (98 mins)

Panel discussion

1.30 pm: Lunch Break (Lunch hosted by IVS)

2.15 pm: Screening of Shabnam Virmani’s Koi Sunta Hai (94 mins)

Panel discussion

5.30 pm: Tea

6.00 pm: Musadiq Sanwal sings Kabir

Venue: Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture


Invitation Card contents

Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in collaboration with Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. invite you to the Film Festival, “Traversing the Divide” featuring two award winning films from India on November 14 & 15, 2008 at the Rangoonwala Hall, Dhoraji Colony, Karachi.


Friday, November 14, 2008

6.30 pm: Viewing of Shabnam Virmani’s “Had Unhad”
8.30 pm: Panel discussion
Participants: Zaheer Kidvai (moderator)
Iftikhar Arif / Zahra Nigah/ Khalid Ahmed, and Shabnam Virmani
9.30 pm: Dinner
10.15 pm: Mehfil-e-Samaa with Fareed Ayaz & Abu Mohammed

Saturday, November 15, 2008

6.00 pm Refreshments
6.30 pm Viewing of Sarah Singh’s “The Sky Below”
7.45 pm Panel discussion
Participants: Ghazi Salahuddin – (moderator), Saquib Hanif, Hasan Zaidi and Sarah Singh

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