A brief synopsis of the film “Ramji Thakkar Bhimji Thakkar”
This film encapsulates the essence of the festival of Navratri in the city of Baroda, its survival and its evolution as a folk culture in an urban scenario. Baroda’s Navratri festival is known for its unique identity which manages to please the purists and the populists. The film uses the director’s experiences as a narrative that gets echoed through the voices of the people and through some chapters of the history of the festival. As the film unfolds one begins to understand how a culture, a living entity, is born out of the emotions and participation of society. It is a patchwork and a palimpsest and not an immutable structure carved in stone. The push and the pull of the pure and ever-changing, the good and the bad, education and intuition, the old and the new form the ground for a vibrant culture. The urban story, glocal culture, the evolution and the history of the folk form makes for an emotional, natural and humorous narrative that explores the bond between the festival, the city, and its people. The film is a wonderful collage of archival footage, images, music as well as interviews interspersed with live footage of the present-day celebrations. The film has been screened at various places in Baroda (Open Studio) Bangalore (IFA, The Valley school,) and Mumbai (NCPA), Delhi (India Habitat Centre, Indian Institute of world culture). A road trip of the film in 2017 September took the film to various educational institutions in Gujarat, followed by an interactive workshop on the essence of culture and its relevance. The film has also been screened to community audiences, on-demand, in India and the US.
The trailer of the film can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tHc3hymJD8
About the filmmaker:
Shwetal Bhatt is a designer, artist, educator and mom to her 14-year-old son. An alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda and IIMB (MPWE 2010). Shwetal runs an independent design studio, FoDoMe, which makes works in copper and glass since 2005. In the last two years, the studio has become a lab for creative explorations of all kinds of materials, mediums, and ideas. She has been involved in the field of training and education out of a desire to work with various aspects of creativity and to understand its impact on society. She started her journey into education through workshops for adults, children and by doing clay play modules in corporate training workshops. She later joined The Valley School, Krishnamurti Foundation India, Bangalore where she worked on the tangible and intangibles of art and creativity with children of all age groups as well as adults (predominantly in sculpture and carpentry). The making of Ramji Thakkar Bhimji Thakkar happened as an outcome of her varied interests and pursuits and is a story in itself! In 2013, inspired by a short conversation that she had with her students, Shwetal Bhatt, embarked on a journey of documenting the Navratri Festival of Baroda. The end result of which was the film, “Ramji Thakkar Bhimji Thakkar” with her students, Shwetal Bhatt, embarked on a journey of documenting the Navratri Festival of Baroda. The end result of which was the film, “Ramji Thakkar Bhimji Thakkar” a 74 min film in Gujarati and English with English subtitles. Shwetal took on the many roles of researcher, director, camera person, translator and promoter of the film as she was driven by her passion to bring this story to the people. She is a first time filmmaker who learned the art and business of it while on the job. Her strength and guides were her families who truly understood the relevance of her work. To her, her many roles, including that of a mother, a creative person, and an educator are all opportunities to express creativity and love.
For more about the journey of the director and the film please visit: https://tinyurl.com/ydhkt9u5