Folklore 2.0 | Rural film screenings
It took us some years to realise that the we are not after sustainability of our film, but the sustainability of the folklore itself. This is a huge task and surely the conventional preservationist model does no good in that regard. We do not want to make films and put them in archives and museums, for the purpose of preservation. What then could be Folklore 2.0?
In the past years, we learnt a lot from small experiments like collaboration with rural youth to produce shared knowledge (an art book). This kept us thinking. So, we decided that our main audience has to be the community with whom we make the film. We must go back, screen the film to the entire community and initiate discussion. These discussions, as we had planned, could engage the young and the old which would allow them to experiment with their own folklore, to continue their traditions by asking the right questions and to change it wherever unnecessary. This would be our innovative approach to safeguarding the folklore.
We went to Bhadwar village in Buxar, Bihar and conducted multiple film screening of Janeu and Vivah Samskara at the residence of Dr. Ram Narayan Tiwari. Separate spaces and screenings for men and women. Something like this had never happened before – when they saw themselves performing their cultural practice on a big screen. Post film, a lot of suggestions and appreciation followed. Interestingly, some had doubts about the sequence of the rites and folk songs – even though we had edited the film in a linear sequence. It shows us that there is no real authentic folklore, it demands by itself to constantly change and the process of the practice could be different for people within the same community. This led to some nice discussion. Women complained about the absence of Jevnar folk songs in the Vivah Samskara film. The song they sang when the in-laws were seated for their meals. Later, they sang a beautiful Jevnaar song for us.
What a beautiful experience to engage the rural community through their own folklore using new media technologies. Most importantly, a step towards instilling critical thinking ability in the rural youth. A video should be up soon.
Many thanks to Abhishek Sengar for the lovely photos. And special thanks to Ashish Kumar, Suneet Solanki, Abhinand Menon, Mohneet Ahuja, Prof. Ülo Valk, Kaustubh Khare and Ashutosh Choudhary for contributing to our Milaap fund raising campaign.