The Heritage Film Festival brings both professionals and amateurs together in making documentaries that speak of India’s rich traditions. The Heritage Film Festival is not only promoting traditional crafts through films, but is also rewarding talented filmmakers with fine pieces of traditional crafts in a bid to promote these magnificent local art forms. This year they have traditional artisans from Kutch & Rajasthan as Sponsoring Partners of Awards for the 6 award-winning films. Three of the sponsors are from Gujarat: Vankar Vishram Valji, Ramji Devraj Marwada, Irfan Anwar Khatri and one hails from Rajasthan: Kalyan Joshi.
Craftsman Irfan Anwar Khatri, who comes from a traditional Ajrakh hand-block printer’s family in Kutch, has created a masterpiece using natural dyes. “The piece I have made is essentially a lungi that has its origin in the Sindh.” When asked about the specialty of this Indigo colored masterpiece, he says” generally we do only one sided block printing, but this lungi has geometrical colourful Ajrakh block prints on both the sides” Ajrakh which also means ‘aaj rakhiye aap’ in Hindi gives a hope to Irfan that by supporting this initiative he will be able to promote the age-old art of block printing, which will later benefit the artisans of Khatri Community (the artisans involved in the block prints).
Vishram Valji Vankar, an award-winning traditional hand-weaver from Bhujodi, Kutch, Gujarat has planned to gift a cream coloured hand woven woollen shawl which has multi coloured designs on it with a typical touch of Kutch . Ahmedabad has been a second home to Vankar for more than 20 years as he remembers his walks to old polls to get the details of textile.Last year he exhibited his work in Old Rajnagar area of Ahmedabad too. He wishes that with these films, the current generation should get a gist of how hand weaving is prepared . “Just like today’s youth gets attracted to latest brands and collects details about them , they should also understand the traditional culture of Gujarat`s hand weaving and share the knowledge with their friends.” Vankar compares weaving with yoga, where you need to have lot of patience to get peace of mind! Similarly, while preparing a shawl or any other piece, it might take 1 month sometimes and 6 months sometimes. When asked if he will be joining for the festival , joyfully he says “of course !”
Another sponsor from Kutch ,Ramji Devraj Marwada belongs to a traditional leather artisan family & has planned to gift a cotton silk fine-looking handmade wall-hanging on which his wife has worked on for 6 months. Ramji belongs to the third generation of handicraft artisans and has been displaying work of more than 200 artisans in USA from last 4 years. When asked what inspires him to continue this work , humbly he says “The money received from the cushion covers, divan sets, bags etc. gives livelihood to 200 Hindu & Muslims families who work on it. Also, it gives me happiness when we see ladies becoming independent by earning Rs. 3000-5000 monthly through their own skills”
Not only from Gujarat but we also have , Kalyan Joshi a traditional Phad painter from Bhilwara. He has been trained by his father Padma Shri Shree Shrilal Joshi who is a leading Phad painter. What’s special about him is that since last 700 years, his family has made paintings for Maharajas and have worked for them. He has been awarded a national award in 2010 by Pranab Mukherjee and also conducts workshops for kids in Gujarat & Rajasthan under his school Chitrashala. “Portraying the Story of Raja Pabuji Rathore of Rajasthan on canvas in natural colours , this hand- made folk-art painting will not only be a token of appreciation for the winner but will also be a gesture of thanking the festival who presented the film made on my institute last year , which also happened to win a award” says Joshi.
The Ahmedabad Blog is the online media partner for The Heritage Film Festival. To know more about this event, click here.