Word Within the Word

Sabad Nirantar
Director: Rajula Shah
English (subtitled), 74 min, 2008, India
The "wretched of the earth" hold fast the spirit of Bhakti, the Word resonating in and with their lives. As they sing the poetry of Kabir and Gorakhnath they embody, far beyond the scope of any intellectual resolve, a refusal to die, a bid to seize eternity from historic annihilation.
Word Within the Word
A still from Word Within the Word

The film looks at how the Word lives, resonating ordinary lives across centuries. Beginning from an everyday cloudy monsoon morning in the city of Bhopal it travels to Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, (the hub of tribal India) that is also known as the second home to Pt. Kumar Gandharva, one of the greatest musicians of our time. Here within the fast altering fabric of a challenged rural life we encounter common people, age-caste-gender regardless, fighting hard to earn a square meal daily, yet keeping music alive at the bosom of a gnawing fate. Far beyond the scope of any intellectual resolve it is at once a refusal to die, and more significantly a bid to seize eternity from historic annihilation. 'Sabad Nirantar’ is a crucial gateway to the India we are fast forgetting, one that is difficult to classify and categorise but simpler to understand if you hear its common folk talk. It is this human landscape within which one can aspire to come to terms with one’s contemporary dilemmas stemming from learned responses, fragmented dreams.

Producer: Jyotsna Milan
Director: Rajula Shah
Camera: Rajula Shah, Gurvinder Singh
Editing: Arghya Basu, Rajula Shah
  • Horizonte Preis DOKFEST '08, Germany;
Select Screenings:
  • World premiere at DOKFEST, Munich, Germany, 2008;
  • World Film Festival, Bangkok, 2008;
  • Cinema Verite Iran Int. Doc Film Festival, Tehran, 2008;
  • IAWRT-IIC Asia Project film festival, New Delhi, India, 2008;
  • Persistence Resistance Film Festival, New Delhi, 2008;
  • Vrittant, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, 2008;
  • Film Appreciation Course, FTII, Pune, India, 2008;
  • National Film Archive, Pune, India, 2008;
  • Voices From the Fringe, Amsterdam, 2008;
  • Parnu Ethnographic Film Festival, Estonia, 2009;
  • Doxa Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada, 2009;
  • Kerala International Video Festival, Kerala, India, 2009;
  • JDCA Film Forum, Bhuvneshwar, India, 2009;
  • Allaince Francaise, Mumbai, India, 2009;
  • Delhi International Ethnographic Film Festival, New Delhi, 2009;
  • Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai, 2010;
About the Director:

Rajula Shah, born in 1974, has a Diploma in Film Direction from Film & Television Institute of India. She is an independent filmmaker based in Pune. Her films include 'Sabad Nirantar' (2007) and 'Beyond The Wheel' (2005). Rajula also publishes poetry and short stories in various journals. Her poetry collection ‘Parchhain ki Khidki Se’ was awarded the Navlekhan Puraskar by Bharatiya Jyanpeeth in 2004. She also translates literary work and writes on cinema.

Posted by Magic Lantern Foundation on April 29, 2017

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