Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies
An evening with Indian filmmaker/writer Paromita Vohra
February 25, 2010
Shapiro Campus Center Theater
The second lecture in this series was was delivered by acclaimed Mumbai-based filmmaker Paromita Vohra, following the screening of two of her recent documentaries. The audience at the Shapiro Campus Center theater was treated to a viewing of Cosmopolis: A Tale of Two Cities, followed by Morality TV and Loving Jehad: A Thrilling Tale. The two short films explored several issues in contemporary Indian society, including gender, public “immorality”, ethnic chauvinism and cosmopolitanism.
Paromita’s unique filmmaking style, infused with humor, was reflected in the filmmaker herself, in the dynamic question and answer session following the screening. During this session, Vohra enthusiastically answered questions from the audience and expanded upon her filmic techniques, as well as her goals for representing people honestly in film and the significant role of documentary narrative in contemporary Indian culture.
Vohra is a documentary filmmaker, screenwriter and teacher based in Mumbai, India. She is the director of over half a dozen documentaries interrogating the social, political and cultural meanings of the contemporary urban Indian landscape. These include issues of ethnic chauvinism, women’s access to public space, state crackdowns on public ‘immorality’, globalization, cosmopolitanism, diversity and social justice. She is particularly recognized for her innovative filmmaking techniques, including blending fiction and documentary. Her films have been screened at film festivals around the world, and her fictional and non-fictional writings have been published widely.
Her work as a writer includes the feature films Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters), about a woman whose life is transformed by growing fundamentalism in a Pakistani village (dir: Sabiha Sumar), for which she won the Best Screenplay award at the Kara Film Festival, 2003 and Khamoshi: The Musical (Additional Scriptwriting) (dir: Sanjay Leela Bhansali); the documentaries Skin Deep, A Few Things I Know About Her and If You Pause: In a Museum of Craft as well as a series of short fiction films on communal conflict for the People’s Decade of Human Rights Education (PDHRE).
For more information on Ms. Vohra, please visit her website.
The co-sponsors for this event included the Department of English, the South Asian Studies Program, the Program in Women's and Gender Studies and the Program in Cultural Production.