A film screening of Reason (2018, 218 minutes) followed by a discussion with director Anand Patwardhan
Between 2013 to 2017 men on motorcycles shot dead four prominent Indian rationalists. Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, a fighter against blind faith was killed while on his morning walk, rationalists Govind Pansare and Professor M.M Kalburgi were assassinated in 2015 and journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017. All were non-violent opponents of upper-caste, right-wing Hindutva supremacists.
Half a century earlier Mahatma Gandhi had been gunned down by the same ideological mindset – a mindset that openly admired Adolph Hitler. The forces that killed Gandhi went underground for decades but never stopped proselytizing. Today they are in power lending impunity to hate crimes and lynchings against minorities and the poor. They evoke Religion and muscular “nationalism”, even as their corporate media and a world tilted to the right, acquiesces or applauds.
Vivek/Reason examines the rise of a myopic authoritarianism that threatens the world’s largest democracy. Its 8 chapters also bear witness to heroic acts of resistance in an epic battle that the world cannot afford to look away from.
“IDFA’s jury voted unanimously for Patwardhan’s film, praising its “epic storytelling of the rise of the far right in one of the most populated countries of this planet.” (Variety, November 21, 2018)
“In broad strokes, it is easy to see why this film is essential to present at an American festival, as it would be in a British, Brazilian, Russian, or Philippine one … the universality of its theme is achieved through an almost overwhelming immersion into the details, both broad and anecdotal, of the last five or so years in India.” (Daniel Kasman, MUBI, March 2019)
Anand Patwardhan has been making political documentaries for over four decades pursuing diverse and controversial issues that are at the crux of social and political life in India. Many of his films were at one time or another banned by state television channels in India and became the subject of litigation by Anand who successfully challenged the censorship rulings in court.
Anand received a B.A. in English Literature from Bombay University in 1970, won a scholarship to get another B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University in 1972 and earned a Master’s degree in Communications from McGill University in 1982.
Anand has been an activist ever since he was a student — having participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement; being a volunteer in Caesar Chavez’s United Farm Worker’s Union; working in Kishore Bharati, a rural development and education project in central India; and participating in the Bihar anti-corruption movement in 1974-75 and in the civil liberties and democratic rights movement during and after the 1975-77 Emergency. Since then he has been active in movements for housing rights of the urban poor, for communal harmony and participated in movements against unjust, unsustainable development, militarism and nuclear nationalism.
His documentaries have been honored with awards at film festivals around the world, including Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, Switzerland, U.K., and the U.S . Besides Reason (Vivek, 2018), his films include Jai Bhim Comrade (2012); War and Peace (Jang aur Aman, 2002); Fishing: In the Sea of Greed (1998); A Narmada Diary (1995); Father, Son and Holy War (Pitra, Putra aur Dharmayuddha, 1995); Ram Ke Naam (In the Name of God, 1992); and others.
Time: 6:00pm – 10:15pm
Location: Lehman Auditorium, Room 202, Altshul Hall, Barnard College (entrance of 117th and Broadway)
Map of Barnard campus: https://barnard.edu/visit/campus-map
Screened in two parts, with intermission and Q&A with the director
6:00pm – 7:35pm: Part One (95 minutes)
7:35pm - 8:10pm: Intermission and Q&A with film director Anand Patwardhan
8:10pm – 10:15pm: Part Two (123 minutes)