My name is Jyoti Nisha. I am a 36-year-old Bahujan woman from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, making a feature-length documentary film about Babasaheb Ambedkar since the last two and a half years. The film is titled as, ‘B. R. Ambedkar Now and Then’ and is in the post-production stage right now. For the last few years, I have shot the film across India, including Mumbai, Delhi, Dehradun, Nagpur, Pune, Raipur, Punjab, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Gujarat, Saharanpur, Shravasti and Lucknow covering various Bahujan issues, areas of atrocities and more.
Let me introduce my film:
The film ‘B. R. Ambedkar Now and Then’ (BRANT) draws a parallel between Babasaheb Ambedkar’s larger than life fight against an omnipotent Brahmanical hegemony during the Indian National movement and the contemporary times in India when his followers and the Constitution are once again becoming a challenge for the hegemonic Brahmanical intelligentsia.
This feature-length documentary of 90 minutes argues and explores ideas of religion, revolution, freedom and Indian mythology, touching upon the scheme of caste in Indian politics and academia. BRANT delves deep into issues such as the voice of youth, representation, identity, symbolism, the condition of the oppressed and status of women. BRANT juxtaposes Buddha Poornima celebrations at Shravasti, Ambedkar Jayanti, Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din at Deeksha Bhoomi, Nagpur and Mahaparinirvana day at Chaitya Bhoomi, Mumbai against very personal, unexplored facets of Babasaheb’s life. Footage shot over the course of years covers various Dalit-Bahujan protests, marches, and conferences of significance all over India. BRANT features interviews of artists, scholars, professors from Harvard, LSE, JNU, DU, TISS, activists, student leaders, musicians and filmmakers from Bahujan background and otherwise. ‘B. R. Ambedkar Now and Then’ also touches upon the role of the Fourth Estate, the popular Indian media and the politics of its narratives.
Being an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication(Delhi) and having studied Feature Film and Screenplay Writing from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and currently pursuing IInd year Master’s program at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; and as a nuanced media person from an Ambedkarite background it somehow became imperative for me to learn, document and understand how Babasaheb has suddenly become everyone’s favorite and how with a phenomenal gusto he is being appropriated in these times in India. Faces are different, the nature of appropriation same. But they perhaps do not understand that Ambedkar is just not a name for Bahujans. He is a symbol. A heritage. A home. An articulation. An ideology. A well of energy from where we receive support from and also give back. A discourse that speaks of assertion, dignity and emancipation away and independent of the oppressive hegemonic powers. As heroes are written in stories. A legend in himself. An institution. A relationship that binds us together as a family and ties us into an Ambedkarite ideology at large.
To this Ambedkarite family and everyone else, I am revealing for the first time ‘B. R. Ambedkar Now And Then’s film’s poster.
You can also find the Trailer of the film below:
There is also an IMDB page.
My LinkedIn profile:
This is your film. Please spread the word as much as you can. I shall be looking forward to your response.
Jyoti Nisha is an independent Writer/Film-maker/Illustrator and Scholar based in Mumbai, India. She is an alumnus of the prestigious, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. Currently, she is pursuing MA in Media and Cultural Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and making a feature length documentary film on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.