The Filmmaker Activist

Anand Patwardhan is the best of the investigative, consciousness-raising, activist documentary filmmakers who are making a mark in India today. In fact, it is said, he helped fashion the very genre. The following interview with Patwardhan was taken by Mitu Varna.

What do you perceive as the predominant trends and themes in South Asian documentary cinema today?

Unfortunately I can´t speak for South Asian cinema as a whole as we have so little South-South cultural exchange that filmmaking and filmviewing neighbours are largely unaware of what is happening across the border. We normally only meet and see each other´s films on rare occasions when invited to a festival organised by first world countries like Japan or Germany or Australia. That is why documentary festivals like the Bombay, Dhaka and now Kathmandu are so welcome. I really hope that such festivals begin in Pakistan and Sri Lanka and other countries of the region as well since I have enjoyed and learnt a lot from the few exchanges that have taken place so far.

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