Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2016 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Shifting Lines of the Desert
Category BIFF Mecenat Fund
Project Shifting Lines of the Desert
Director Pushpendra SINGH
Country India
Director's Profile Pushpendra Singh is an alumnus of the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. His debut feature, Lajwanti (The Honour Keeper) premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014. He has been involved in making short ethnographic films for the Asian Heritage Foundation and is a visiting faculty at the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune.
Moti Khan, a talented child living in Khaltana village near the Indo-Pakistan border, looks up to his relatives from Barna who have prospered by adapting themselves with the changing ways of the desert. His father, Sattar struggles to find ways to sustain the family economically and is dependent on their hereditary patrons to survive. He has realized that his child is musically gifted but wants him to study and make a successful career outside music. He gives in to the perseverance of Moti to learn music and sends him to Barna to train and make a living out of singing. Anwar Khan, maternal uncle to Moti has lost hope to be a successful musician. He has taken up a job as a supervisor at the resort of his Rajput patron and hopes that would at least benefit him economically. He encourages Moti to sing in the resort to financially help his family. Nijre Khan is the oldest person in the extended Manganiyar family. He still tends to his camel on his own and is the carrier of stories and the fading musical heritage. He encourages the young generation especially Moti to look at music as a spiritual connection between man and nature. When this long syncretic tradition of Muslim Manganiyars and their patron Hindu Rajputs is at a dangerous point to break apart due to religious polarization, Nijre Khan makes us believe that though the lines in the desert keep shifting and changing but they are together in the end.
Director's Note
Manganiyars had converted to Islam to break out of the discriminatory nature of the caste system but decided to continue their profession under the patronage of their neighbors, upper caste Hindu Rajputs. Thus, a strong syncretic artist-patron system of economic sustenance was developed. I was drawn to the changes in this musical tradition among their community and could feel their struggle to adapt to the modern reality. The film will follow their struggles and aspirations both stylistically and realistically. Considering the place of music in Manganiyars’ life, it will be a musical. It will have musical conversations and songs, being partly observational with reconstructions of their past and contemporary struggles in life. The film will follow the journey of the boy Moti from a remote village in a barren landscape on the Indo-Pakistan border to a cultural tourist village near Jaiselmer and observe him participating in a musical show abroad.
Still Cut
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