So Heddan So Hoddan

Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar

So Heddan So Hoddan

1 March 2013

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a medieval Sufi poet, is an iconic figure in the cultural history of Sindh. His remarkable poems are sung by many communities in Kachchh and across the border in Sindh (now in Pakistan).These songs speak of the pain of parting, of the inevitability of loss and of deep grief that takes one to unknown and mysterious terrains. Umar Haji Suleiman of Abdasa, in Kachchh, Gujarat, is a self taught Sufi scholar; once a cattle herder, now a farmer, he lives his life through the poetry of Bhitai. Umar’s cousin, Mustafa Jatt sings the Beths of Bhitai.

He is accompanied on the Surando, by his cousin Usman Jatt. Usman is a truck driver, who owns and plays one of the last surviving Surandos in the region. The Surando is a peacock shaped, five-stringed instrument from Sindh. The award-winning film So Heddan So Hoddan explores the life worlds of these three cousins, their families and the Fakirani Jat community to which they belong. As pastoral ways of living have given way to settlement, borders and industrialisation, the older generation struggles to keep alive the rich syncretic legacy of Shah Bhitai, that celebrates diversity and non-difference, suffering and transcendence, transience and survival.

Professors Monterio & Jayasankar were present at the film screening, and took questions about the film after the screening.

About the Directors

Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar are professors at the School of Media and Cultural Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Both of them are involved in media production, teaching and research. A presiding thematic of much of their work has been a problematising of notions of self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals. These range from the stories and paintings of indigenous peoples to the poetry of prison inmates. Jointly they have won twenty-nine national and international awards for their films.