Anjali Monteiro and KP Jayasankar
Duration: 50 mins
Language: Hindi and Kutchi
Sur Shala, set in Kachchh, Gujarat, India, follows the eponymous programme of Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghatan, that seeks to preserve and pass on the precarious traditions of music and poetry in Kutch. The film traces four different musical journeys, all converging in the ways they affirm religious diversity, syncretism and love of the other. Drawing on the poetic and musical traditions of Sant Kabir and Shah Bhitai, as well as the folk traditions of the region, these remarkable musicians and singers bear testimony to how these oral traditions of compassion are being passed down from one generation to the next. Whether it is the group of young men in Bhujodi who meet every night to sing the bhajans of Kabir, or the feisty women from Lakhpat, who quietly subvert gender roles through their music performances, or Noor Mohammad Sodha, who plays and teaches exquisite flute music, or Jiant Khan and his disciples, whose love for the Sufi poet Bhitai is expressed through the ethereal form of Waee singing—all these passionate musicians keep alive this delicate weave, committed to the project of what Naranbhai, a carpet weaver and community archivist from Bhujodi calls “breaking down the walls”.