When kites can’t fly
Two brothers provide care for birds of prey when the hospitals refuse to treat them, against a backdrop of Delhi’s infamous pollution and political protests
Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes wins the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2022.
The Delhi-based filmmaker’s first feature-length documentary Cities of Sleep (2016), showcased the infamous ‘sleep mafia ‘in Delhi. It focuses on the efforts of homeless people to get a good night’s sleep. All that Breathes brings out the nuances of the city in an unapologetic way. The documentary is produced by Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer, with Benjamin Bernhard as director of photography. Sen has received IDFA Bertha Fund (2019) and the Sundance Documentary Grant in 2019.
“I’m absolutely speechless and we’re utterly, utterly beaming.I think it’s also in keeping with the Sundance traditional saying, if you want to get on a call, actually you got the grant. This is how the film started.The film simply came into existence to a large part because of Sundance support”, said Shaunak Sen after declaration of the Grand Jury Prize
Sen’s All That Breathes is the only India film to have premiered at the Sundance Festival (dates) The documentary tells the story of two brothers Nadeem Shahzad and Mohammed Saud with no prior veterinary experience, who start to treat injured black kites. Their cramped room, with dim lights and peeling walls, sets the mood of the film.
Apart from the chaos caused by pollution, the birds are also targets of kite strings. Amidst the protests against the Citizen Amendment Bill, the brothers’ primary concern is the birds.
The duo known as ‘kite brothers’ start treating the kites when the hospitals refused to treat injured black kites as they are carnivores.
Later, they start the mission to save wild birds such as kites, owls, vultures, eagles and falcons. The basement of their house in Wazirabad, Delhi was the first rescue location when they started treating birds. As the mission got expanded, they started an organisation called Wildlife Rescue to treat the raptors and provide them a better environment.
‘It’s said that feeding kites earns sawab (religious credit)’, says the narrator. The brothers find peace in helping these birds, treating their injuries has greater value in their lives. The toxic environmental and civil atmosphere results in a larger crisis, yet the brothers try to manage and help as many birds as possible.
“The film’s patient, roaming camera skillfully uses scale and perspective to draw attention to the interconnectedness of an ecosystem — one that humans are a part of, not apart from. The social unrest that begins to materialise in the streets is seen through the perspectives of the brothers and their family, as well as the insects and animals that share the urban landscape. There is both cruelty and tenderness in nature, and Sen elegantly captures how they coexist, while emphasising the ways in which all living beings must evolve to survive”, a statement said.
Inputs from: festival.sundance.org/www.raptorrescue.org
Celebrating art and artistic themes
Indian art has always been an intriguing topic over the years. BN Goswamy’s Conversations, India’s Leading Art Historian Engages with 101 themes explores various subjects around art. The book is published by Penguin Random House and brings out the aesthetic value of art while allowing the readers to dive into artistic joys. BN Goswamy is an art critic, art historian and former vice-chairman of the Sarabhai Foundation, Ahmedabad. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1998 and Padma Bhushan in 2008. Goswamy takes the readers to experience an artistic journey from Ananda Coomaraswamy to the Art of Calligraphy, The Meaning of Silence to Farid-ud-din Attar’s great Sufi.
Between Body and Imagination, Shovin Bhattacharjee’s Inner Quest is a solo exhibition of his artistic creations over a period of four years. Through his sculptures, installations, paintings and digital art, he tries to portray art through different mediums. He uses stainless steel to create the installation. The sculptures and installations also capture self-portraits along with cuboid structures, metaphorical to the city. For paintings, he uses acrylic and charcoal which represent animal life engaging with urbanity. In his digital art, he indicates the existence of the common man. The artist believes in the freedom of expressing himself through different mediums.
Where: Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi
When: Till 10 March
The musical journey
Life is an endless journey – a journey of search. ‘Tansen’, the musical, follows the journey of every artist through the life of the legendary Indian singer and musician Tansen. The play is led by actors Sudheer Rikhari, Ridhima Bagga and Mohammed Faheem under the directorial excellence of Sudheer Rikhari. The play is an autobiographical musical on Tansen, which also explores the dilemmas, questions and thoughts of every artist. It is a never-ending saga of an artist’s search. A blend of music, dance and drama is used to narrate the story. The live music like Dhrupad, Qawwali, Hori to Khayak Gaayaki alongside live instruments adds more life to the play.
Where: The Trialogue Studio
When: 5-27 February on weekends
The realms of feminine attributes
Sanchit Art presents ‘Existence and Emergence’, a group show showcasing feminine subjective through female sexuality, physical traits, dreams, intellect, thought and realities. The show is led by Seema Kohili’s ‘Vaishnavi’, a bronze sculpture that represents the mystical state of female energy. The show also includes the works of Anjolie Ela Menon, Paritosh Sen, Ganesh Haloi, Suhas Roy, Rabin Mondal and Nandan Purkayastha.
Where: Sanchit Art
When: 1-28 February