The conversation that followed was titled ‘Shared Practice’. Manak Matiyani took the audience through a biographical sweep of the filmmaking couple’s lives and career. Commenting upon the shared practices, K. P. Jayasankar said – “When we watch something, we watch it not just for ourselves but for millions of others who do not understand.” It is not only about seeing but also about sharing. Anjali Monteiro spoke about intuitive co-working habits of the couple which have evolved over three decades. Talking about ‘shared’ approach, she said that the couple always problematized the situation so as to place themselves externally from the supposed position of normality.
Gargi Sen, from the audience raised key questions about the performative aspects of the couple’s films where the centrepiece is art and music. Anjali explained that one cannot simply work with the image as evidence but one also has to look through it for the possibilities it has to offer. With this, the festival segued into the final screening of the morning session, ‘So Heddan So Hoddan (Like Here Like There)’, a tale of the endangered musical tradition of the Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.
‘Words on Water’, Sanjay Kak’s narrative on the Narmada Bachao Aandolan (NBA,) set the tone for the afternoon’s session. Sanjay’s engagement with issues that habitually occupy the interstices between absolutes prompted lively discussions in a panel primarily attempting to make sense of how a filmmaker engages with the politics of the knowledge that is made available. The panel consisted of Surabhi Sharma and Mallika Shakya in conversation with director, Sanjay Kak.
Diving head first into the conversation, Mallika outlined the nature of demarcation of the ideal of democracy into the social and the political aspects. Sanjay’s response to this was through a description of his style of working. After thoroughly immersing himself in pedagogic research first, Sanjay steps into the field and allows the experience to transform him. ‘Words on Water’ began as a research trip about the great democratic effort (NBA) and through a curious entanglement which nearly got him arrested, Sanjay found himself filming this documentary; one within an uneasy locus between a campaign film and a personal account.
The conversation, ‘Words on Water’ highlighted the value of collaborating on skills through a collaboration of ideas, knowledge and vision. The afternoon ended with the screening of Sanjay Kak’s ‘In the Forest there is a Bridge.’
Continuing the thematic of shared practice into the evening, Anjali Monteiro and K. P. Jayasankar’s ‘Saacha (The Loom)’ brought out the collaborative efforts in societies through the lens of a poet, a painter and the city of Mumbai. Sanjay Kak’s ‘Red Ant Dream’, a befitting outro to a day of charged discussions and interesting conversations.