Cotton For My Shroud – screening with the directors, 6pm 16.1.2013



– news from the directors is that the people organising the premiere (due 19th Jan) have unfortunately balked at our screening, and instead we will have Nandan and Kavita present a curated selection of short films from the International Poetry Festival that they toured with in India – more details soon, same time, same place.


Screening with the filmmakers Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl – 6pm Lauri Grove Baths, Council Room, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths

As Multinational Corporations that produced poisons for biological warfare during the cold war positioned their deadly wares as agricultural inputs, the last few decades have seen humans waging war upon themselves.

Vidarbha, in the Indian state of Maharashtra, has become a bloody battleground in this ongoing global war between corporate greed and the people’s ‘Right to life’.

‘Cotton for my shroud’ investigates how Monsanto manipulated Bt Cotton field trials, enticed farmers with lies about yields and reduction in pesticide use. Empty promises, escalating costs, dwindling yields and depressed cotton prices played havoc.

Since 1995, a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide – the largest wave of recorded suicides in human history.

Most of them were cotton farmers from Vidarbha.

While the state and the media label these deaths as suicide, the cotton fields of Vidarbha remain a mute witness to genocide.

Narrated in the first person, the film gives us a window into the drama and despair that forms the warp and weft of life at Vidarbha.

Screening  6pm Lauri Grove Baths, Council Room, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths. All wellcome


4 thoughts on “Cotton For My Shroud – screening with the directors, 6pm 16.1.2013

  1. Cotton for my shroud
    Directors’ Profile: Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl

    Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl work in the genres of documentary and poetry films. Their oeuvre spans the domains of ecology, livelihoods, development and human rights.

    After their Masters in English Literature from the University of Delhi, they did a diploma in journalism. Thereafter, Kavita worked for ‘ The Indian Express’ for seven years and Nandan worked for the audio-visual media, doing News and Current affairs programming, in what they call their previous life.

    They turned a new leaf in 1996, as independent film-makers. Their films explore man’s relationship with his environment through many windows- cultural, political and anthropo-botanical.

    Their voluntary initiative ‘Via-Media’ is an effort to catalyse change by taking positive stories to receptive minds, and to build the capacity of citizens groups and movements. They take workshops to initiate inquisitive minds into film-making and photography. They are visiting faculty in the Department of Culture and Media Studies, Central University of Rajasthan.

    Nandan is also an avid photographer. In 2009, he had a 30-day solo exhibition of his photographs at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

    They have hosted a workshop on DSLR-filmmaking in partnership with Canon and Embrace Video during the Vatavaran Film Festival in December 2011; and another workshop on DSLR Filmmaking during the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF-2012) in February 2012.

    Cotton for my shroud
    Brief Filmography: Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl

    Their latest film, ‘Cotton for my shroud’ won the Rajat Kamal at the 59th National Fim Awards (2011). The film takes a look at the suicides of cotton farmers at Vidarbha in Maharashtra and examines if this largest wave of recorded suicides in human history amounts to a genocide in which the Indian government is complicit.

    Another recent film ‘Ek Kahani…Jalore se’ profiles the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Jalore district of Rajasthan. This UNDP-MoRD commissioned film was screened at the Vatavaran Film Festival (2009) at Delhi and Prakriti Film Fest at Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

    Hollow Cylinder, explores why Bamboo- a grass is considered a tree; why it is under the domain of the forest and how this folly impacts upon the livelihoods of the poorest of the poor. The film was screened at Vatavaran Environment and Wildlife Festival, 2007 at New Delhi. It won the second prize at the Short Film Festival of India(2008), organised by Don Bosco Institute (DBICA) at Chennai. It received the third prize at the Jeevika Livelihoods Film Festival, organised by Centre for Civil Society (CCS) at New Delhi.

    The Homecoming is a film dealing with shrinking livelihoods and job-induced migration. Shot in the remote district of Pithoragarh in the state of Uttarakhand, the film explores the nitty-gritty of a community based and sustainable economic development model in the mountainous regions through the real-life story of Lalita and Bahadur Ram. The Homecoming was screened at the New York Independent Film & Video Festival, 2008. It was also screened at the ‘Prakriti’ Film Festival organised by CEC, at Puducherry in 2008.

    In 2008, they made a series of six films for National Literacy Mission in India, and two films on the need for energy efficiency in industries in India for the IREDA and World Bank. They have made fifteen films for the United Nations Development Programme. They have made a film on the Veena for the UNESCO Intangible Heritage Project for the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Ministry of Culture.

    Their first independent film ‘Agaria-The sons of fire’ is an ethno-botanical film on the aboriginal iron-smelters of India, produced for Doordarshan. It explores the crisis facing the tribe today as they are on the verge of losing their ancient art. It was nominated in the package- ‘Best of Doordarshan’ and was the inaugural Film at the Festival of Reality-based films, organised by UNESCO and Prasar Bharati in 2003 at Delhi.

    Brief Filmography: Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl
    Title Description For Year

    Cotton for my shroud A film on the suicides of cotton farmers at Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Independent 2006-11

    The music of the Gods A film on the Veena for UNESCO Intangible Heritage Project Sangeet Natak Akademi 2009-10

    Ek kahani…
    Jalore say A film on the implementation of NREGS at Jalore in Rajasthan MoRD, UNDP 2008-09

    Ticket to Learn A film on School Choice Campaign CCS 2009

    Abhisaran A series of 6 films on the activities of the National Literacy Mission in six districts of India.
    NLM, MoHRD

    Energy Efficiency Two films profiling the IREDA-World Bank project promoting energy-efficiency in Paper & Pulp and Textile sectors.
    IREDA- World Bank

    Of Buddha & other beings A trilogy of poetry films based on Japanese Haiku, screened at the Sadho Poetry Film Festival, New Delhi.

    Hollow Cylinder A film profiling the versatile grass- Bamboo, and its importance in fighting climate change and creating livelihoods.

    The Homecoming A film on the economy of remote mountainous regions, focusing on Uttaranchal.

    A stitch in time
    Green Gold
    Wings Three films on sustainable employment in the rural non-farm sector in India.

    We shall overcome A film on the post-Tsunami reconstruction at Car Nicobar. Church of North India

    And quiet flows the Bagadh Film on Environmental Health and Safety. Jubilant Organosys 2006

    Science at your doorstep Seven documentaries on Urban Renewal, focusing on the role of S&T in working towards a better urban landscape. UNDP and Ministry of Science & Technology


    Brief Filmography: Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl
    Title Description For Year

    Of the people
    For the people
    By the people Documentary on Capacity building of Urban Local Bodies in UP and Uttaranchal. UNDP and Ministry of Urban Development

    Sabrang Pilot episode for a weekly programme in Urdu on Doordarshan.

    Power to the People Documentary on Small Hydels in the Himalayan region. MNES and UNDP. 2002-03

    Documentary on River Yamuna. Ministry of Environment and Forests

    Who sets the Agenda?
    Documentary on Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation.

    Kashmir Talk A Current Affairs Documentary Series. Doordarshan 2000-01

    The sage of Pingalwara A 60-min documentary on the life and philosophy of Bhagat Puran Singh. All-India Pingalwara Society

    Home from the past A documentary on Havelis or ancestral homes of Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh. COMNET,
    Doordarshan 2000

    AGARIA –
    The Sons of Fire An acclaimed ethno-botanical documentary on the Agaria.

    Hope at Hojai
    A Film on largest charitable rural hospital in India, at HOJAI, Assam. NGO-Haji Abdul Majid Hospital


  2. Thanks John, for organising the screening.
    Both of us are looking forward to it.

    We are trying to reach out to as many kindred souls as we can.


    1. Hi, great. Please be sure to bring cables and connectors you need, the input is a VGA pin plug. I am not 100% sure the Homi input is accessible. Looking forward. J


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