Espírito Kashi presents Ropani, a portrait film.
In Bihar, ‘Ropani’ is a woman who sows paddy. This ethnographic film by Rajat Nayyar is about an intimate encounter with Aaji, who becomes ‘Ropani’ during monsoon and has worked in the paddy fields for 40 years. The research explores the space and music in which she dwells and that which dwells in her.
Burps, more burps.
Hands begin to shake.
And ostentatious head rotation.
Aaji, also commonly known as Ropani in Bhudwal village in Bihar, worked for the last 40 years in the paddy field. She used to follow her mother when she was alive and worked as a ‘Ropani’. She wasn’t interested in working in the paddy field as such, but in learning the songs that her mother used to sing while working. Ever since, aaji has made a home both in and through music.
She has three sons. All are married and have their own children. Two sons are away in Punjab working in a textile factory. Rest of the family lives together. For many years in the past, Aaji has suffered from depression, which could be due to the pressure of working in the field in order to survive. One day she was sent to a nearby spiritual healer, who transformed her and made her believe that Goddess (Devi) lives in a space that is free of negativity and depression. That moment, aaji decided to allow the Devi to become her. The whole family (and nearby villagers) felt the manifestation, bowed down to Aaji, sang and worshipped the Devi. This continues.
Aaji’s body begins to show symptoms of this becoming. She starts to burp loudly, her hands begin to shake rapidly, head starts rotating ostentatiously and then a clap. Devi arrives. While the family, sings to the Devi.