We are living through strange times. No one would have thought that instead of a civil war, a nuclear explosion, or a climate emergency like flooding or extreme weather, we would be dealing with a viral pandemic in 2020. On one hand, health workers, social workers, and public institutions are fighting to save the lives of people. On the other, it has rendered the 24/7 functioning of global capitalist juggernaut to a grinding halt. Although it has put the livelihood of many at risk, it has let the earth to breathe and the wildlife to grow. It has made philosophers, artists and writers to ponder over the cultural impact of social distancing. It has nudged museums, universities, resource websites to make their content freely available. The film festivals have been cancelled or postponed. It has nudged them to start online viewing rooms.
Here at Kirrt, we have curated this viewing page of Independent short fiction and non fiction films from Punjab. These films are already available on the internet thanks to their makers.
2001, 40 Minutes 21 Second
This film chronicles the life and times of Punjabi scholar Pritam Singh to delineate how knowledge production, as a critical and intellectual exercise, is undertaken in the language. Apart from his reputation of being a celebrated teacher, Singh had a passion for collecting and interpreting old manuscripts.
2001, 40 Minutes 21 Second
This film explores the dark secret of the Green Revolution, namely the marginalisation of agricultural labour in Punjab. Through interviews across age groups, Ami tracks the psychological, social and economic ramifications of a community indebted in perpetuity with no expectations of a reprieve.
Not Every Time … (ਹਰ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਕੁੱਟਿਆਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਭੁੱਰਦੀ …) by Daljit Ami (ਦਲਜੀਤ ਅਮੀ) is a definitive account of a mass movement that the rape and murder of a college student spurred in 1997 in Punjab. The film traces the various personal and political struggles the leaders and participants of the movement experienced as a result of their involvement.
2015, 27 minutes
Seva (meaning “service”) is a multi-perspective engagement with the literary heritage. The film juxtaposes local engagements with heritage material whether in conservation laboratories, digitizing preservation units, collection shelves, scholars’ desks, or crematoria with global contexts.
Qalandar – A 35 year old man from a village in Punjab (India) has to learn riding a Bicycle to get closer to his fleeting dream. A dabbler by nature. Music, cinema and books interest him, and thus, make him a complete misfit in his village and family.
The film is a profile of Pala, a storyteller from Punjab. It deals with the diversity of the centuries old storytelling and musical tradition of which he is a part, but a tradition which is rapidly on decline. Pala claims to belong to no particular faith and can with ease transform himself and his musical talent to suit the needs of the space where he is performing. What he represents is a kind of folk religion, which has assimilated the traits of all the three principal faiths of Punjab, namely Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam.
What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to communities in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together stories of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab (India) to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration.
2014, 30 minutes
Mardistan (Macholand) is an exploration of Indian manhood articulated through the voices of four men from different generations and backgrounds. A middle-aged writer trying to make sense of the physical and sexual abuse he witnessed studying in an elite military academy, a Sikh father of twin daughters resisting the pressure to produce a son, a young 20-year-old college student looking for a girlfriend with whom he can lose his virginity and a working-class gay activist coming out to his wife after twenty years of marriage.
2011, 37 minutes
The story is about the meeting of two strangers. One is running away from her present and the other is having doubts about his past. How will the meeting of these two strangers concerned with the present and the past, decide the future, remains the question.
2012, 14 minutes
The film deals poetically with, and is structured around the rhythms and moods of the fishermen’s day with its toil of preparation and catching the fish, travel towards loved ones, and their culmination in rituals of celebration of survival and Jhabails’ authentic way of life.
2018, 25 minutes
Mela Chiraghan or ‘festival of lamps’ is an annual festival commemorating the death anniversary of the Pujnabi Sufi poet and saint, Shah Hussain who lived in Lahore in the 16th century. The shrine where the festival takes place is situated at the outskirts of Lahore where Hussain is buried with his beloved, Madhu Lal, a Hindu boy. The names of the two lovers have unified to become one, Madhu Lal Hussain, symbolizing their inseparability even in death.