‘Rangrooting’ for films in Dehradun


07-doctoredIn 2012 while making a hybrid documentary, Wall Stories, we decided to make a collaborative short film.  The inspiration was from my participation in the collaborative filmmaking event, RipFest in New York.  RipFest had been a wonderful experience. I got to stretch myself creatively and I met likeminded people who became treasured colleagues and friends.  I wanted to recreate that experience in Dehradun.  And so our first short, Rangroot came about in 2012. Then came The Girl in 2014, and now its time to recharge our batteries with Rangroot 3! Rangroot, the Indo-Anglian word for ‘recruit’ having become the identity of this method of making films.  A method that incorporates the talents of the cast and crew into the story that is written around whatever location is available. A combination of serendipity, preparation and improvisation.

Interested cast and crew should get in touch with us. We thank those who have already showed an interest, we’ll get back to you very soon with interview and audition dates. Meanwhile please introduce yourself to us:

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Collaborative Film Project in Dehradun

Film ProjectWe want to make a film that  challenges us creatively.  Instead of coming in with a script which is then imposed on the cast and crew, we will reverse the process.  We find the location and actors first and build the story around them.  This is how we made ‘Rangroot’ which turned out to be a very rewarding experience, and now we are ready to get our creative juices flowing again.

Read about ‘Rangroot’ here and here.

Actors, Cinematographers, Sound Designers, Editors, and Producers are welcome to apply.  Fill in the form below.

10/7-8 Auditions and interviews of cast and crew
10/9 Meeting of selected cast and crew
10/10 Scripting based on selected actors and location
10/11 Rehearsal
10/12 Camera blocking and shooting script
10/13-14 Production
10/15-23 Post production
10/24 Screening!

We want to emphasize this project is a way to create an outlet for talented actors and filmmakers in Dehradun, to create an environment where people can learn from each other and perfect their skills.  Its not a commercial enterprise. We are not getting paid to put this project together and neither is anyone participating. We cannot reimburse any costs that are incurred.

Filming in Dehradun!


After our great experience making ‘Rangroot’ a 100 percent Dehradun film, we are ready to stir things up again.

Read about ‘Rangroot’ here and here.

We had the great pleasure of working with a veteran actor like Jagriti Dobhal and an up and coming actor Raman Rawat (last seen on CID). And now we are getting ready to create a new team.

3 actors • 2 locations • 5 crew members    
10 people will get together to create a film in 10 days!

Actors, Cinematographers, Sound Designers, Editors, Writers, and Production crew are all welcome to apply.  We will likely crew up in October. Details to come soon.  Meanwhile you can introduce yourself and indicate your interest.

Show in Portugal

If you are in Portugal and will be there at some point.  My work will be in a group show at the Galeria Sment  in Barcelos, Portugal, from May 27 to June 12. The show will be traveling across Portugal, so watch for updates.


Video on Demand

We are very happy to announce that, in an effort to ensure that as many people as possible see our film, we are now offering Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir! for online streaming via Vimeo On Demand. On Demand is a brand new distribution platform from Vimeo which allows you to watch films streaming on the web, smartphones, tablets, and on web-connected TVs (like Roku).

We hate paying for things which we don’t get to keep, so we are especially pleased that Vimeo offers filmmakers the option of including file downloads as well as online streaming. If you watch our film online on Vimeo you can also download a copy of the film to your own hard drive and watch it whenever and wherever you want.

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News: ‘Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!’ in Croatia

‘Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!’ will be screening in Croatia at ETNOfilm from April 24 to 27. This is a very special, this will be the first time the film is screened in Eastern Europe, and many of our friends from the region who have seen the film feel a great affinity for it because of the parallels between the lives of Denotified Tribes and the Roma people of Europe. We are glad to be able to share the film in a public screening.

Why Thackeray’s Legacy Will Survive

Bal Thackeray is dead, long live Bal Thackeray! This is not meant as a provocation, but as an exploration of what allows a Hitler loving demagogue to die in peace without facing any consequences for his actions (For an account of his career and impact go here)

A recent Hindu op-ed rightly notes that, “Thackeray’s genius was giving shape to an authentically Indian Fascism.” And its roots are in the decline of the working class in Bombay. It considers the Shiv Sena’s fascism a “politics of the young,” specifically young men.

But how about the seldom discussed perspective of women? Not the young women who have been arrested for their update on Facebook and ‘liking’ said update. But the women who make the politics of violence possible. This is a good time to revisit Atreyee Sen’s excellent ethnography, Shiv Sena Women: Violence and Communalism in a Bombay Slum. 

Sen argues that women in Mumbai slums who engage in violence within the rubric of the Shiv Sena Aghari groups, do so for completely rational reasons. Their capacity for violence gives them a space to maneuver in a patriarchal society. Not only are they able to carve out some power for themselves in their communities, it allows them to engage in collective action to address the issues facing their members, like abusive husbands, and access to local resources like water. Outside of their community, it gives them a sense of power while dealing with the highly unequal equation that exists in their place of work, whether between the memsahib who employs them as domestic help, or the sweat shop owner for whom they labor. Highly circumscribed as this power is, it is has an inarguable materiality.

Sen concludes on the depressing note that for the slum women in the Shiv Sena, it is imperative to maintain a low level of permanent conflict with their neighbors, usually Muslims or migrants from other parts of India. It is through the threat of violence that they can wrest resources and status from their environment. A return to normalcy would increase the pressures of patriarchy on them and alienate them from what little they have. What is even more depressing is that this violence, in order to stay relevant, has to be transmitted through their children and menfolk. In a situation like this, how is a non-violent civil society possible? As usual the answer lies with women.

New Project!

I have been working on a project about mural paintings in Dehradun. These paintings date from the 18th to the early 20th century, and can be found all along the valley.

Its been quite a journey trying to find a way to read these images. It has taken me from Art History to the politics of the environment to the birth of modern Indian theatre.

Even as I was trying to understand what I was seeing, I was also encountering all these lives that were unfolding around these images.

‘Wall Stories,’ is about that journey. I’m working through my ideas and am posting bits from the film for feedback. Thanks for watching.

India premiere!

‘Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!’ will have its India premiere at the International Film Festival of India in Goa in November! I remember going to this festival as a fresh faced student when I was at Jamia Millia. It’s exciting to be there as a filmmaker.

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