Molly Kaushal | Leela in Kheriya: A documentary on the Ramlila tradition in Kheriya village

Film - Documentary | April 30 | 3-5 p.m. | 341 Dwinelle Hall | Note change in time

 Molly Kaushal, Professor of Performance Studies and Head of Janapada Sampada Division, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts

 Robert Goldman, Professor of Sanskrit and Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor in South & Southeast Asian Studies

 Institute for South Asia Studies, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor in South and Southeast Asian Studies

Join us for a screening of Molly Kaushal's documentary on a Hindu-Muslim version of the Ramleela as it is performed in the village of Kheriya in Ferozabad District of UP.

About the Documentary Bio
Leela in Kheriya is a feature length documentary film based on the Hindu-Muslim tradition of Ramlila in the village of Kheriya in the Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India. The patrons, organizers and actors of this Ramlila are ordinary residents who have formed a village level Ramlila committee to oversee its various organizational aspects. Hindus and Muslims together constitute this committee. Several major roles in the Ramlila are played by Muslims including that of Ram and Sita. Even the little swarupas are often chosen from among the Muslim children and it is they who are offered the daily aarti and puja on stage. Ramlila in Kheriya in many other ways defies the notions of purity and pollutions as it has come to be associated with the tradition of staging lila.

Kheriya is located in the vicinity of Firozabad town, which is known for its glass and bangle factories, and where many of the residents of the village seek employment. The film begins with images of smelting glass in the furnaces of these factories, borrowing them as a metaphor for relentlessly moving ‘wheel of time’. The film then moves into the lanes and by-lanes of Kheriya where individual selves and life's daily grind are enmeshed in multiple ways with Ramlila. Each character in the film has a personal history, which he/she speaks about in interviews and monologues. Each story narrates a life of sorrow, grief and dejection on one hand, and hope, courage, faith and indomitable spirit on the other. Each of these lives converges on Ramlila stage, which becomes a redeeming point, and a moment of healing and self-recovery, giving rise to a unique aesthetic experiencing by the actors of their role in the lila.

About the Director
Molly Kaushal is Professor of Performance Studies and Head of Janapada Sampada Division for Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts , where she teaches on Indian folklore and conducts research and documentation projects. She is the academic director and principal investigator of the project Living Traditions of Ramkatha and Mahabharata and has made significant contributions in the field of folk and tribal traditions, building a massive audio-visual archive, bringing out translations and other publications, and creating a platform for dialogue between artists and scholars. She has also done extensive research among the Gaddi community of Himachal Pradesh and has published a number of papers on spatial and temporal processes, including a film titled Landscaping the Divine: Space and Time among the Gaddis. Her current research is on migrant communities in megacities, tentatively titled Changing urbanscapes and emerging ritual spheres in the context of formation of regional and political identities.

Event made possible with the support of the Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies.
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PARKING INFORMATION: Please note that parking is not always easily available in Berkeley. Take public transportation if possible or arrive early to secure your spot.

The event is FREE and OPEN to the public., 510-642-3608