At IDSFFK, Bagawat takes a journey back to Chambal to understand the history of dacoity - Post
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At IDSFFK, Bagawat takes a journey back to Chambal to understand the history of dacoity

Entertainments
The documentary Bagawat - Rebellion  is part of the Short Documentary Competition section at the 15th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK).

The documentary Bagawat – Rebellion is part of the Short Documentary Competition section at the 15th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK).

Any mention of Chambal evokes fear and a flurry of images of armed men and women trudging across the ravines on horses. With those images come stories of the terror they wreaked and the blood that they spilled. Documentary filmmaker Dilu Maliackal’s journey to understand the history of dacoity in the vast Chambal region that spans the borders of three States also began from these images and stories, but she ends up with a visual document of some of the gang members as well as their victims, which paint a story which does not completely villianise or valourise these gangs.

The Muvattupuzha native’s documentary Bagawat – Rebellion, being screened as part of the Short Documentary Competition section at the 15th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), looks at the whole issue from a sociologist’s perspective. Many of the former members of these gangs point at the hardships they had to undergo due to oppression from powerful forces, or even sheer government apathy at their situation as the reason for them ending up with the dacoits.

An old man, a retired dacoit, caresses his gun as if it were a living thing that he cares for and speaks of how he understands every aspect of the gun, having spent every waking minute with it. On the other side is a 70-year old man who recollects the memory of being kidnapped by one of the gangs when he was just a six-year old. A woman, a family member of a former dacoit, speaks of the respect with which the gang led by her kin used to treat women in the households they robbed. But, it could be seen as an attempt to paint a positive picture of a close relative, as there are of course stories of women facing violence from such gangs.

With some arresting, energetic visuals that capture the nature of the ravines, which made these regions a safe space for the dacoits, the documentary adds a level of understanding of the Chambal gangs, which are missing from mainstream narratives.

AU Bureau
Author: AU Bureau

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