and Holy War
Court orders telecast !
the politically polarized world, universal ideals are rare. In
India, as in many regions, the vacuum is filled by religious zealousness.
Minorities are scapegoats of every calamity as nations subdivide
into religious and ethnic zones, each seemingly eager to annihilate
the other or extinguish itself on the altar of martyrdom.
SON AND HOLY WAR explores in two parts the possibility that
the psychology of violence against "the other" may lie in male
insecurity, itself an inevitable product of the very construction
1: TRIAL BY FIRE
BY FIRE, a reference to the ordeal Hindu god-king Lord Rama
tested his wife Sita's fidelity with, looks at the communal
fires which have consumed India in recent years. "Sati," a
rite by which Roop Kanwar was thrown on her husband's funeral
pyre; the upper castes' "purifying" fire rituals and the communal
fires that ravaged Bombay after the demolition of the mosque
in Ayodhya are set against a small group of fire fighters:
a Rajasthani woman who, against the odds, condemns Sati; a
Muslim woman who battles gender discriminatory laws; and a
band of Hindus and Muslims who march for communal harmony in
the riot-torn streets of Bombay.
2: HERO PHARMACY
PHARMACY examines "manhood" in the context of religious strife.
The Hindu majority has been raised on stories of marauding
Muslim invaders who raped their women, destroyed their temples,
and forced religious conversions. Today, some Hindus demand
revenge for crimes committed centuries ago. They reject non-violence
as impotence and set out to be "real men."
this context, the Muslim minority - despite fears of genocide
- will not take things lying down. They too are driven by the
imperative to be "real men." The result is carnage.
violence inherent in the human condition? Historically, people
have co-existed for over 50,000 years in relative harmony.
Wars began less than 5,000 years ago. But today the "macho" man
rules in every land. Where do we go from here?
* National Award, Best Investigative Documentary,India,1995
* National Award, Best Social Documentary,
* Special Jury Prize, Yamagata International
Film Festival, Japan,1995
* Grand Prize, Jerusalem International Film
* Special Jury Prize, Vancouver International
Film Festival, 1995
* International Jury Prize, Bombay International
Film Festival, 1996
"Rampant machismo is
never a pretty sight, and this two-part video contains a lot of
excruciating imagery and some brutal truths:
these are not pretty pictures... For showing to courses on current
Indian politics, on religion and ethnicity, on women's issues,
the sociology of violence, or popular culture, FATHER, SON AND
HOLY WAR is powerful stuff, but the faint of heart should be forewarned
of its harrowing content."
Gail Minault, Journal
of Asian Studies
"Anand Patwardhan's impressive, passionate documentary explores
in great detail the roots of sectarian violence in India today.
A natural for cutting-edge TV docu slots, the film, which is extremely
well researched and assembled, should also be
widely seen at upcoming fests."
David Stratton, Variety
“In his understanding of the sexual politics of resurgent Hindu communalism,
Patwardhan remains India’s most astute and daring documentary filmmaker
and one of the country’s most sensitive commentators."
Vinay Lal, Manas
"Father, Son and Holy War”, through a careful layering of images,
views and counter-views takes you far beyond the generally superficial
vision of Indian politics that the standard television documentary delivers."
Pervaiz Khan, London Film Festival
"Within the patriarchal determinisms of contemporary cultural practice in
India, it is rare to encounter a film like Anand Patwardhan’s Father Son
and Holy War that compels one to confront the dubious privilege of being a ‘man’ in
Rustom Barucha, Economic and Political Weekly
"After attempting to block the screening of Anand Patwardhan's
red-hot 1994 documentary Faster, Son and Holy War for over a decade,
has had to cave in and slot the film's Hindi version on Sunday, October
8. The two-hour documentary is divided into two segments and looks at
the connections between anxiety over masculinity and the rise of religious
Nandini Ramnath, Time Out
"Father, Son and Holy War" amongst
all-time favourites in world cinema
contains essays on 51 of the kind of films that have
made an indelible
impression on the 51 authors of
and which for some
even became a determining factor in how they spent their lives.
The authors are filmmakers, critics, festival directors,
commissioning editors and
film connoisseurs, all of whom are spending their lives making,
and working for the advancement of the documentary. They were all
asked to write about their favourite documentary
of all time."
Sound - Simantini
Dhuru, Narinder Singh, Sanjiv Shah
Music - Navnirman, Vinay Mahajan
Production Assistance -
Simantini Dhuru, Paromita Vohra