Reviews

Jyoti Nisha Wants to Retell B.R. Ambedkar’s Story

February 12, 2019

Indian filmmaker Jyoti Nisha does not think anyone can claim B.R. Ambedkar’s image or politics. But with her upcoming film, B.R. Ambedkar: Now and Then, Jyoti weaves Ambedkar’s life and history as an opponent of Brahminical hegemony together with the current political climate and anti-caste movement, all from her own Bahujan feminist perspective. Kajal sat … Read More

“Asking for Elephants” Reminds Us to Travel Solo

January 9, 2019

Dove is a bestselling novel by Robin Lee Graham, a non-fiction narrative about sailing solo around the world at 16 years old, starting from San Pedro, California. It ends like a fairytale: he returns home with a wife and a daughter. I read it as part of my middle school curriculum and was so taken … Read More

This Variety Show Pokes at the Edges of the First-Generation Experience

November 19, 2018

Getting to the inaugural Crazy Funny South Asians variety show at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater was a trek given the near-apocalyptic scale of this season’s first snow on November 15. But somewhere between the endless lines outside Penn Station mere blocks away, the unnecessary but – I’m calling it – quintessentially Indian queue skipping … Read More

“Demons in Paradise” Shifts Away From Prevailing Sri Lanka War Narratives

November 15, 2018

Jude Ratnam didn’t realize he would be telling his own story. Initially, Ratnam set out to make a film about the Sri Lankan Civil War, using the railway connecting the Sinhalese-dominated south and the Tamil-dominated north as a springboard for his explorations. “You can’t rationally understand the process of art-making,” Ratnam told Kajal. “But one … Read More

Of The Island Celebrates Lankan Self-Representation

October 11, 2018

Of The Island is a short film by Amanda Yogendran and Vidhya Manivannan that centers four young creatives of the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Burgher Sri Lankan diaspora – Ushka, Rolex Rasathy, ELSZ, and Santhya – who share their experiences of migration, culture, identity, art, and self-expression. “I feel like I always had an alter ego,” a voice in … Read More

Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s “White Dancing Elephants” Revels in Your Discomfort

October 8, 2018

There is strange fascination in pressing an old, yellowing bruise, still tender. It begs for repetition and simultaneously unsettles. Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s debut collection, White Dancing Elephants revels in this discomfort, veering through short stories ranging from the speculative to the queer, the mythic to the historical, the pleasurable to the sexually violent. Centering the voices … Read More

Raj Kapoor, Mukesh, and Nostalgia for an Inclusive Nationalism

October 2, 2018

Challia, Awaara, Shree 420 – the singer Mukesh’s soulful voice is found across the soundtracks of films in an early post-colonial India, narrating the vastly different post-partition life on the sub-continent. With Raj Kapoor, an accomplished actor and producer, Mukesh would go on to play an essential role in forming a young India’s national identity … Read More

Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke Brings Queer Truth to Colombo’s Stage

September 24, 2018

The One Who Loves You So, writer and director Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke’s widely-anticipated original play, ran at Colombo’s Namel Malini Punchi theater in August. The play is a complex depiction of a short-lived relationship between two men, one “a wealthy Colombo trust-fund baby” and the other a British expatriate. Their relationship starts with an ordinary match … Read More

Jayisha Patel’s CIRCLE Explores the Repetitive Nature of Violence

September 20, 2018

CIRCLE, a film by Jayisha Patel that premiered last weekend at the Berlin Film Festival, tells the story of a young girl in rural Uttar Pradesh, India, and the physical manifestations of intergenerational trauma. The film follows the story of Khushbu, a survivor of sexual assault, as she recounts her gang-rape at the hands of … Read More

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