Drowned Out goes full circle...

Date 28th Aug 2003



Mumbai, Sept. 3: There are times when a film about resistance is itself a resistance to outside forces. Drowned Out is one such film.
The film has been made by Franny Armstrong and is being screened on September 4 at K.C. College. This will perhaps be the rare opportunity for Indians to witness the other side to the story.

Films on the Narmada Bachao Andolan have been done before. The unique aspect about this film is that it is an ongoing project over the last four years. "This is the kind of movement, which makes farmers social activists," says Ms Armstrong who was drawn to the subject from a newspaper article in London.

The award-winning documentary was aired for the first time in Mumbai on September 3 and tells the story of the villagers of Jalsindhi in Madhya Pradesh who choose to drown rather than leave their ancestral homes.

The film was completed in August 2002 and has been playing to packed audiences at film festivals world-wide. It also picked up second prize at the prestigious San Francisco International Film Festival. The film has just been brought by Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S. and will be shown on September 18 as part of the Wide Angle Series to a potential audience of 2 million across America. But it was recently seen by perhaps the toughest critics of all. The people of Jalsindhi themselves. The film crew revisited the valley with a generator and projector for a large outdoor public screening.

Ms Armstrong says, "We went back to Jalsindhi on August 21 and the reaction from the villagers was overwhelming. Most of them have not ever seen a camera but are glad that their story is finally being heard."
"We want the film to be screened on Indian television," says Ms Armstrong, "people need to know what is really happening to the villages of India."

The Hindi version of the film will be available soon. Drowned Out will be screened on September 4 at K.C. College, Churchgate at 6 pm. Admission is free.