Jashn-e-Azadi (2007) by Sanjay Kak records the long-standing struggle for freedom in the Kashmir valley, a region between India and Pakistan that has been under military occupation for many decades. Shot and edited between 2004 – 2007, Jashn-e-Azadi poses the question of the meaning of freedom to the turbulent landscape of Kashmir as India celebrated the 60th anniversary of its Independence in 2007. Twelve years later, the site of Kashmir remains in the same limbo, the political situation intensified by the rift between the two nations. The screening of Jashn-e-Azadi in today’s context revisits the site of Kashmir and explores the broader meanings of freedom under military occupation.
Sanjay Kak is an independent documentary film-maker whose films Jashn-e-Azadi (2007) Words on Water (2002), won Best Long Film prize at the International Festival of Environmental Film & Video, Brazil), and In the forest hangs a bridge (1999) won Golden Lotus Best Documentary Film National Film Awards; Asian Gaze Award, Pusan Short Film Festival, Korea. His prior film work includes One Weapon (1997), and Harvest of Rain (1995). He has also made twinned films on the theme of migration, This Land, My Land, England! (1993) looking at people of Indian origin in the fringes of the city of London, and A House and a Home (1993) in post-apartheid South Africa; and Cambodia: Angkor Remembered (1990), a reflection on the monument and its place in Khmer society.
Born in 1958, Sanjay read Economics and Sociology at Delhi University, and is a self-taught filmmaker. Based currently in New Delhi, he is actively involved in the documentary film movement, and in the Campaign against Censorship and the Cinema of Resistance project. In 2008 he participated in Manifesta7, the European Biennale of Art, in Bolzano, Italy. He writes occasional political commentary, and is the editor of Until My Freedom Has Come – The New Intifada in Kashmir, (Penguin India 2011, Haymarket books 2013). Most recently he was the editor and publisher of the photobook Witness: Kashmir 1986-2016 (2017).
This screening is an accompanying program to CCS Bard Spring Thesis Exhibition: Missing Hue of the Rainbow curated by Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi currently on view in the CCS Bard Galleries until May 26, 2019.