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In 1935 Rasoolan Bai the well known singer from Varanasi recorded for the gramaphone a thumri that she would never sing again - Lagat jobanwa ma chot, phool gendwa na maar (My breasts are wounded, don't throw flowers at me). A variation of her more famous song - Lagat karejwa ma chot, phool gendwa na maar (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 opens a Pandora's box of life stories, memories, half remembered songs and histories that for long have been banished into oblivion. It brings the film face to face with the enigmatic figure of the tawaif, courtesan, bai ji and the contested terrain of her art practise 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.
regisseur Saba Dewan | camera Rahul Roy | editing Reena Mohan, Khushboo Agarwal, Mahadeb Shi, Anupama Chandra | geluid Asheesh Pandya, Gissy Michael, Vipin Bhati | met ondersteuning van India Foundation of the Arts en Hivos
duur 120 min
taal Hindi / Urdu / Engels