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Project HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARANA?
Category BIFF Mecenat Fund
Project HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARANA?
Director Sunanda BHAT
Country India
Director's Profile Sunanda BHAT has been making documentaries and short films since 1995, under the banner Songline Films. Her interest in documentaries is to represent people living on the margins of a fascinatingly intricate and stratified Indian society. Unraveling these layers reveal glimpses of lives that are often far more interesting than fiction. Let's make it right about rural sanitation won the 'Gold Drop' award at the International Water and Film Events 2012 at Marseilles, France. Her first documentary Bol Ayesha Bol (Speak Ayesha Speak) was screened at IDFA, 1998. Her other films are Athani to Dusseldorf on the transformation of leather crafts people from artisans to entrpreneurs; Nalai Nammadai (Tomorrow is ours) on micro enterprise; and Yoga as therapy a series of 14 films on Yoga for stress related illnesses.
 
Synopsis
In a world that has grown more dynamic and uncertain, where diversity and differences make way for standardization and uniformity, textures of ‘ordinary’ people’s lives emerge through layers of landscape, revealing intimate relations with land. A woman’s concern over the disappearance of medicinal plants from the forest, a farmer’s commitment to growing traditional varieties of rice organically and a ginger cultivator’s struggle to survive amidst farmers’ suicides, offer fresh insights into dynamic, shifting relations between people, their knowledge systems and the environment. Interwoven into contemporary narratives is an ancient tribal creation myth that recalls the passage of their ancestors across this terrain, carrying forward and preserving earlier ideas of landscape. ‘HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARANA?’ is a lyrical journey through vibrant landscapes and lifestyles of Wayanad in Kerala, threatened by sterile and unsustainable alternatives.
Director's Note
I went first to Wayand in 2006, to study effects of the agricultural crisis on landless laborers. Subsequent research revealed stories of exploitation and struggle. However, during numerous journeys I was fascinated by the diversity and energy of people within the bus, juxtaposed with transitions in the rapidly passing landscape. I decided to allow the landscape and people to speak; exploring ways to interweave bus journeys, wetness and dryness of seasons, contours of the land and textures of faces; that are intrinsically related, yet dislocated. An ancient tribal creation myth that narrates travels of a mythical couple across this terrain became the thread to interweave contemporary stories of people and their land.
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