The Other Song

Director:
Saba Dewan
English (subtitled), 120 min, 2009, India

In 1935 Rasoolan Bai the well known singer from Varanasi recorded for the gramophone a thumri that she would never sing again - My breasts are wounded, don't throw flowers at me. A variation of her more famous song - My heart is wounded, don't throw flowers at me, the 1935 recording, never to be repeated, faded from public memory and eventually got lost.
 
More than seventy years later the film travels through Varanasi, Lucknow and Muzzafarpur in Bihar to search for the forgotten song. This journey brings the film face to face with the enigmatic figure of the tawaif, courtesan, bai ji and the contested terrain of her art practice and lifestyle. To find the lost other song the film must understand the past and present of the tawaif and unravel the significant transitions that took place in late 19th and early 20th century around the control, censorship and moral policing of female sexualities and cultural expression.
 

 
Producer:
Rahul Roy
 
Creative Crew
Camera:
Rahul Roy
Editing:
Anupama Chandra, Khushboo Agarwal, Mahadeb Shi
Sound:
Asheesh Pandya, Gissy Michael, Vipin Bhati
Supported by India Foundation of the Arts and Hivos
 
Awards and Screenings:

 
Winner of the Mecenat prize for best documentary at the Pusan International Film Festival, 2009

Selected Screenings:
Pusan International Film Festival, 2009
Doclisboa, Lisbon, 2009
Dubai International Film Festival, 2009
Bird’s Eye View Women’s film festival, London, 2010
Doc.fest Munich Film festival, 2010
Engendered Film Festival, New York, 2010