There are two reasons I recommend Trikal. One, because it covers a part of Indian history that is unknown, not only to much of the world, but also to most Indians. Secondly, it is by one of India’s best directors, Shyam Benegal. Each of Benegal’s films [click here for the list] is a cinematic gem, in how he artistically captures India’s culture, society, and history in minute details within his storyline. I’d put Benegal alongside Satyajit Ray as one of the greatest film directors in the history of Indian cinema. Trikal is set in Goa when it was under Portuguese rule. What many don’t know is that Portugal colonized parts of India long before the British did (in 1510) and, left India much after the British did, in 1961. The story is set in 1961 when Portuguese are planning to leave and India is preparing to take over Goa. The film shows how the people of Goa were divided about being a part of India. After 450 years of Portuguese rule Goa had developed a unique culture, very different from the rest of India’s, and many of the Goan people wanted (more…)
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Posted by Rita Banerji on January 23, 2014
by Rita Banerji
In December 2012, when the social media was abuzz with news of the Delhi rape protests, our campaign received several messages asking why India had been totally silent on the 1984 mass rapes and killings of Sikhs in Delhi.
This is a reference to an episode in 1984, when following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards, for four days there were unchecked and organized attacks on Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of India. Since the Sikhs are a tiny community, 2% of the population and easily identified by the turbans and other clothing, they became an easy target. More than 4000 Sikhs were killed, hundreds of women were gang-raped, and homes and businesses burnt down.
A report from the CBI, (India’s Central Bureau of Investigation) shows the massacre was sanctioned and organized by the police and the…
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Posted by Rita Banerji on May 22, 2013
Above is a quote (click on the link and read in full) from the director of ‘It’s a Girl!’ a recently released film on female gendercide in India and China, for which I was one of the many people interviewed.
India’s female gendercide has become my life’s agenda ever since I started The 50 Million Missing Campaign in 2006 to raise global awareness about this horrendous human rights disaster in India, and to lobby political and social momentum for official accountability and action, of the kind that all genocides warrant.
During this time I’ve been interviewed by many journalists in India and outside, and one of the things I find most disheartening is how often the media, even women in the media, end up dehumanizing this dehumanized event! I’m often asked by journalists about “the shortage of women in India.” SHORTAGE? I want to yell. You talk about food shortage, water shortage, resource shortage. But women ‘shortage?’ What are they thinking? Obviously they are thinking of women as reproductive and sexual RESOURCES for men!!! If their vision of this mass slaughter of women in India is so dehumanized is it little wonder that the world looks at this not as a human rights issue but a mathematical problem. They say the ‘ratio’ of women is dropping. Have you ever heard of the annihilation of any other group in ratios and measures like this?
And so when the team of the “It’s a Girl!” film came to interview me, I watched them closely, cagily, like I always do. My defenses are always up. But it was different from the start. They were coming from the U.S. to India, and we had an appointment for a certain day at 10 a.m. I’ve had reporters from the city sometimes call me 10 times to find their way through the lanes, and they end up an hour or so late trying to find their way. So I assumed it would be the same with the It’s a Girl movie team. But no, as I leaned over my balcony, to my complete amazement a cab pulled in at five to 10 a.m. precisely!! That was not all. The other pet peeve I’ve had with the reports on India’s gendercide in the media are that the journalist it often seems to me already has their ‘story’ in the head. They just need me to fill in the numbers and statistics and just repeat some of the things they need me to say to seal it all in. I can, like I always do, give them all the reference, papers, numbers, and chapters from my book Sex and Power, asking them to read that stuff before we meet, so we can discuss the real issues. But it never happens that way! So again I was amazed that the producer of the ‘It’s a Girl’ team had a copy of my book in his hand, which they obviously had read through, and marked passages they wanted to discuss.
I realized they had come to understand!! They have the figures and numbers but they need to talk to really get to the heart of this issue. And that’s what we did. We talked and talked and talked for almost 10 hours. After they returned, they continued to email me with questions, feedback etc. The one thing that put my mind at ease was that finally someone was taking this to heart. This was not a cut and paste “story” for them.
Looking at their hour long documentary, I can only guess the number of months they put into it talking and meeting with all those other people besides me in this documentary. For them this was not just another media story, a relevant report, but an ideological quest, that fitted into their version of a global humanity and human rights. Amnesty International has officially nominated this film for their 2012 Reel Film Festival on films that deal with critical human rights issues.
I’m so glad that finally — India’s female genocide is not a mathematical or a “resource problem”, but is now officially a human rights issue. I feel much gratitude to Evan Grae Davis, the director, and the producer Andrew and the rest of the team for giving me, my campaign, and the women of India and China a voice in the world to protest the wrong done to us, and most of all to remind the world that we are HUMAN and members of a global community that needs to take a stand and speak up!
Nothing I had seen in my travels around the world as a documentary film makereven remotely compared to the scale of routine injusticein the practice of female gendercide.
We met courageous activists in India willing to share their first-hand experience with gendercide, yet frustrated with the lack of support and awareness. We spoke with doctors and government officials unwilling to
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Posted by Rita Banerji on October 5, 2012
I sure will miss Dev Anand! He’s the only male actor from Bollywood to ever enthrall me!
Actually I’m not a big film buff. I see at the most one film a week on T.V. and 2 films a year in the theater. Back-to-back movie marathons make me throws up!
Odder still, Dev Anand was not the hero of my generation. He was the big star of my parents’ generation. And that is who introduced him to me. My mother loved singing, and when I was a child many of the songs she would sing – and that I loved, were from his movies, most of which were from before 1970! (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on December 7, 2011