Film Screening | Neeli Raag
The synthetic dye industry is one of the most polluting of industries the world over! It can blacken rivers, poison the land and harm the skin. There is now a global search for natural dyes, but where are they?
Neeli Raag (True Blue) tells the story of Indigo, one of the oldest and most precious natural dyes of India, that was lost to the events and process of history. Today, as the world seeks natural colours once more, it is back in the spotlight. The stubborn dreamers who kept it alive through the years of oblivion feel vindicated, and yet crafting natural indigo requires body-knowledge and commitment that seems to belong to another time.
Traversing between the verdant monsoon of Tamil Nadu, the earthy expanses of springtime Telangana and the wintry desert of Kachchh, Neeli Raag is an attempt to tell the story of indigo as it is practised in India today. Interwoven with the narratives of the indigo craftsmen is the colour itself in its many moods textures and forms. How does a green leaf yield blue colour? How do the different shades emerge? The processes of indigo are almost magical to behold, as murky solutions transform into a vibrant blue, bit by bit. This is a blue that deepens, mesmerises, stains, and seeps into the skin and nails, indeed the lives of those who craft it. Can it survive our own life and times and live to tell its tale to the future?
Swati Dandekar a documentary filmmaker with a special interest in creating visual narratives of the living history around her; of people, places, ideas, traditions, practices, and the continuous process of change. Her past work is a series of essay films that explore the relationship between place, people, resources and the institutions that govern these. Her film "Water and a City" was widely screened in India and abroad, and is part of the curriculum for courses on water and development studies. In addition, she has been closely involved with designing audio-visual media for education. As a founder trustee of Vikalp Bengaluru, she has been actively screening documentary films in Bangalore for over ten years. She also teaches film at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore