Date(s) - 23 Jan 2012
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Anek At Sahyadari
Driving through interior Maharashtra (or however interior we could get) I began to think about the city. We were always lucky to survive a day without being mauled, injured or possibly killed by men in buses or otherwise. Shikha and I left the city late one afternoon to get to Sahydari School, which is on the way to Bhimashankar. I didn’t know what to expect, everyone told me it was magical, but I am always skeptical of most things. As we climbed the hill, the leaves had curled in the cold of the winter, and we were suddenly in the heart of the school.
Sahyadari School is one of those schools where the children seem closest to a childhood that is now quite forgotten, a childhood that does not include bad traffic and the ‘smog that rises over the window panes.’ The children here are like all children: curious, probing and for someone who doesn’t understand them, slightly intimidating.
We were here to talk about Anek Ramayan, a film by Shikha Sen about parents who try to understand the many Ramayans and who translated these often disparate versions into a language their children would understand, and Shikha went into raptures about a text that she loves, bursting with an infectious enthusiasm that spread very quietly through the children on their chatais.
Fifty minutes through, and the children at Sahyadari were bursting with questions. Each of them had their own story that they had heard or picked up and shared. None of them cared about why the film was made, or how Shikha thought of it, or what it meant. They asked about the avatars of Vishnu and if, being god (as Rama was for Tulsidas), he can be forgiven for his mistakes, and were they mistakes at all? Someone else told the story of Luva and Kush, extending Anek Ramayan. Someone else asked if the Ramanujan essay would ever be taught again. Until quite suddenly a boy, about 12, said (and this still amazes me)– “After I watched this movie, I realize that I know many smaller Ramayans, and I thought that was the Ramayan. But now I know that it is many Ramayans, so there can’t be just one.”
An amazingly perceptive comment from one so young…
Maybe it’s all that clean air or the compulsory 20 minutes of quiet time watching the sunset.
What the press said:
How do you tell a story that isn’t a single, homogeneous tale? When parents at a Delhi school decided to put on a Ramleela performance for their children they had to confront questions of how to integrate their own versions of the Ramayana and accommodate others.
Shikha Sen’s Anek Ramayan explores the multiple Ramayana stories, examining the processes of conflict and consensus.Juxtaposed with contemporary songs and recitations and contesting exchanges between parents.
Shikha Sen will be at Open Space for a screening of Anek Ramayan.
Venue: Open Space
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Date: Monday, 23 January, 2012
This event is free and open to everyone.
Anek Ramayan was also screened for the students of Sahyadari School, Pune