Burps, more burps.
Hands begin to shake.
And ostentatious head rotation.
Devi arrives.

Directed by Rajat Nayyar

This ethnographic film is about my encounter with Aaji, a Dalit (lower caste) woman who has worked in the rice fields for 40 years and becomes ‘Ropani’ (a woman who sows paddy) every monsoon season. In this project, I studied the interlocking systems of oppression that impede the everyday lives of Dalit women. Specifically, I explored the folk songs that Aaji learned from her mother and continues to sing in every aspect of her daily life, including working in the paddy fields. The first screening was hosted by Aaji herself in Burhwal village; with two hundred people from all caste groups present, this screening facilitated a space for Aaji to re-envision social arrangements of power through audiovisual ethnography and verbal performative traditions.

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