The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa
Bhakta Chand, Nepal, 13mins
This documentary centers on a man, myth and his legacy. It works both as a biopic and as a timeless and relevant piece of social commentary. Mr. Bhim Thapa has dedicated his life to the idea that people needed to be awakened to bring changes in their lives. He held this idea for a lifetime, painting & inscribing the word “khoja” on the pavement, walls, and stones of Nepal. Now, 96, old and fragile, he is still traveling and writing. It is believed that he has written/inscribed “Khoja” over 8 million times.
In 2000, Bhakta Chand ditched his Civil Engineering studies & went to Norway to study Theater Arts and English Literature. It was a journey that shaped his future and developed interest in films and documentaries. After Studying Anthropology in London, he returned to Kathmandu and went to produce documentaries on social, cultural & contemporary issues in Nepal.
His first documentary on plastic problem in Kathmandu valley and effect it leads to the global environment won him the prestigious award at San Francisco organized by Siemens. He wrote and directed a feature length documentary about traditional music and musicians called “Valley of Music”. This historical traditional music and its instruments is going through a phase and is on the verge of extinction as its loss means loss of intellectual calamity to ancient knowledge leading to the extinction of an entire culture. The documentary was premiered at a renowned theatre in Kathmandu. The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa is his third documentary film.
Currently, Bhakta is working as a Programme Manager at an innovative not for profit social business enterprise that supports and enables positive futures for street based children, young people and families at risk in Nepal.
Cities of Sleep
Shaunak Sen, India, 74mins
Cities of Sleep is set in a world where just being able to secure a good night’s sleep often becomes a matter of life and death. Trailing the lives of two individuals, we enter a heady world of night-shelters, improvised sleeping spots and the infamous ‘sleep mafia’ of Delhi to look at the enormous influence the otherwise banal activity of sleeping is able to exert on a large number of people.
The film follows two individuals, Shakeel and Ranjeet. Shakeel, a beggar by profession is something of a renegade sleeper who for the last 7 years has slept in a diverse cross-range of improvised sleeping places in Delhi: under flyovers, subways, deserted pipelines, vacant car garages, empty animal cages in zoos and so on.
Ranjeet lives in Loha Pul in Delhi, a 200 year old double storey iron bridge in Delhi straddling the banks of the river Yamuna. Around 9 years ago, Ranjeet opened up a shanty cinema in a thin strip of the land under the bridge. These cinemas are meant to primarily provide comfortable resting/sleeping spaces for the 140-150 people who usually inhabit the area. We follow this community’s attempts to survive while also facing the annual threat of the river flooding during the monsoon season.
SHAUNAK SEN is a filmmaker, video artist and scholar based in Delhi. Cities of Sleep is his first feature length documentary. He has edited films including ‘Squad’s Fall Guys’ (2013), ‘Old Town’ (2013) and ‘T&Lily’ (2014).
Shaunak is also the recipient of the Digital and Social Media Fellowship from Sarai in 2014. A mass communication graduate of Jamia Milia, New Delhi he is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University in Delhi. His academic writing has been published in various journals including Bioscope and Widescreen. He has also worked as a journalist for Tehelka and as a freelance investigative journalist for other media portals.
Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, at 12 p.m.