Indie filmmaker Q's short, Sari Men, traces the travails of the weavers
For the past ten years, Indie filmmaker, Q, who is known for his cult film, Gandu, has been intrigued by the world of saris and has documented the lives of its makers. He is finally ready with the short film, Sari Men and the main reason behind making this short has been the crushing poverty the weavers are facing, more so due to the lockdown.
Besides the film, Oddjoint, an independent art house collective run by Q and his partners, has also come up with The Lockdown Sari Challenge, an online sari wearing challenge where anyone can put up a video wearing a sari, donate to the cause and pass on the challenge to the next person. The entire proceeds from the initiative will be donated to the Artisan Support Fund run by Dastkar.
We had a short chat with the maverick director, who’s known for such stellar films including Brahman Naman, Garbage, X and Tasher Desh about Sari Men and more. Excerpts:
You had been working on a film called Sari for a couple of years. Is Sari Men the same?
Sari is a project that began in 2009 and has been a film in progress, an archive, a love story and a failed documentary. It was from the tonnes of data that we shot over five-six years across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh that I made the short. This particular project was in association with Border n Fall, that supports handloom activities. The inspiration was the age-old practice of weaving, spinning, making and wearing unstitched fabric, which is not found anywhere else in the world.
This film seems to be quite different from the kind of films you are known for.
I believe that my work is genre-jumping. The idea I play with is identity, especially sexual and social identity. I do think this definitely is a part of that narrative.
You just did two web series in the past two years?
Web series have brought in a completely different mindset in terms of narrative, one that I had been anticipating for some time. I am enjoying this honeymoon period with the form until it’s completely appropriated by the market forces.
How has the lockdown affected you as an artiste? Do you think this will impact badly the indie filmmakers?
The lockdown is harsh on labourers, migrant workers and millions of citizens and I am the least important person to think about how this affects me. As an artiste, I should be looking at these as experiences that will reveal more about human nature. Indie filmmakers were already in a bad shape and the pandemic just gives society more reasons to negate our existence.
What are the projects you are working on now?
We were very busy with Oddbar, our new space in Assagao, Goa. With the pandemic situation, it’s unclear how that will pan out. Besides, we have two films, some publishing, music and performance-based art projects, and a couple of series that we are working out.