Professor Sridhar Rajeswaran, University of Mumbai, who has been invited as a Visiting Professor will deliver his 3rd lecture on “Earth 1947 through the Fish-Eye: Imaging the Landscape of Memory ” on 23 May 2016 from 3.00 to 5.00 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the Institute.
Deepa Mehta is an emergent voice that was sought to be stifled not once but twice when attempts were made to blaze her Fire and drown her Water. It was not her voice alone but the conscience of people indwelling in a cracking Earth, that was sought to be silenced - the immediate originary moment referred to here is 1947. The result was Fire Blazed and Water Drowned and the Cracked Earth had a little laugh.
Generally tagged an Indian film maker in a Canadian diaspora, a problematic tagging in itself, her three movies with a focus on India are an indictment of the times we indwell in.
Earth 1947 is actually the ground that worlds the other two films and needs to be accorded primacy, critically engaged with first. It is a cinematic version of Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking Earth aka Ice-Candy Man. The trauma of partition is the core-area of critical concern for both the writer as well as the film maker. While the writer is a bearing witness to the events that unfolded during partition, to Deepa Mehta it is post-memory – if one is allowed the leeway to use the term thus – that gives validity to her testimony.
Both writer and film maker revisit the space that saw a million dead and one of the largest engineered/forced migrations in recent history. Suddenly a border had appeared; a division as they call it was made. On both sides of the divide lay death mayhem and destruction. A moment had turned friends into foes, unearthed the beast literally and metaphorically, set the zoo lion out. Rape, violation, the horror, the horror, the horror of it all was the heart of darkness.
It is this moment, the trauma of partition that both writer and film maker have sought to revisit. There is a difference though, while the writer has a certain section that begins the cathartic healing process the film-maker shows no interest in it at all, in fact severs it. Was it because it made better cinematic sense or was there a larger issue?
Is she reimaging it in a different form and genre as a document for posterity of that one moment that could have really made the space of the nation the space of its entire people?
My talk entitled, Earth 1947 through the Fish-Eye: Imaging the Landscape of Memory
Is not an attempt to answer any of queries but revisit that space to let not history repeat itself second time as farce.
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