Discover India’s Leading Documentarian Anand Patwardhan

“For more than four decades, he has been India’s leading documentary filmmaker, tracking the country’s unraveling from its pluralist post-Partition ideals to a Hindu hegemony.” 


Starting on Friday, March 5th, OVID will present the complete filmography of Anand Patwardhan, for almost 50 years India’s most important—and to some, controversial—documentary filmmaker. Read the New York Times Magazine’s recent piece on Anand Patwardhan.

From his first film Waves of Revolution made in 1974 through his most recent film Reason completed in 2018, Patwardhan has recorded the modern history of India and illuminated inconvenient truths of its society, from the injustices of poverty and the caste system, to the rise of militarism, Hindu fundamentalism and an extremist, repressive government. 

Virtually all of Patwardhan’s films have faced state censorship and he has had to wage unrelenting legal battles to make them available for screening in India, at all. And though feted by awards and retrospectives internationally, at the Tate Modern in London or the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, for example, his work is too little known here in the United States. 

It is in that context that OVID is proud to be able to present the streaming premieres and exclusive presentations in North America, of all of Patwardhan’s seventeen films. Below find information on Patwardhan’s filmography to be presented on OVID. The films are presented in three groups: his feature-length documentaries, medium/hour-length films, and short films.


Feature-Length Films

Directed by Anand Patwardhan
240 min / Color / 2018

“The battle between faith and reason is universal and ongoing. In India, the world’s largest democracy, the ideology that murdered Mahatma Gandhi has finally captured power. Murder and mind control are being applied to dismantle a secular democracy that once aspired to the values of enlightenment and non-violence. As accusations fly of “eating cow meat” or “treason of Mother India,” minorities and all those who fight for the poor bear the brunt of rising Hindu majoritarianism and a complicit corporate media.

“A potent dossier, demonstrating a uniquely contemporary strain of fake-news scapegoating…reveals abundant evidence of an excruciatingly riven society.” —Cinema Scope

IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, 2018

Jai Bhim Comrade
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
182 min / Color / 2012

“The 1997 police shooting of Dalits (formerly branded “untouchables”) at Ramabai Colony in Mumbai triggers a narrative about caste discrimination in contemporary India set against the modern legacy of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the 20th-century reformer and legal scholar who also drafted India’s constitution. Shot over 14 years, Jai Bhim Comrade examines the persistent social and legal persecution of Dalit communities, as well as the poetry and music of Dalit resistance.” — MoMA

“Could be seen as a capstone to Patwardhan’s extraordinary career.” —The Times (UK)

Best Film, Mumbai International Film Festival
Best Documentary, Hong Kong International Film Festival
Golden Camel, Jaipur International Film Festival

War and Peace
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
133 min / Color / 2002 

Filmed over four tumultuous years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA following nuclear tests in the Indian sub-continent, War and Peace is a documentary journey of peace activism in the face of global militarism and war.

War and Peace has a riveting intelligence all its own and earns its epic title.” —The New York Times

Grand Prize, Earth Vision International Film Festival
International Critics’ AWard (FIPRESCI), Sydney Film Festival
Best Film/Video, Mumbai International Film Festival
International Jury Prize, Mumbai International Film Festival
Best Documentary, Karachi International Film Festival
Best Non-Fiction, National Film Awards, India

Father, Son and Holy War
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
120 min / Color / 1995

In the politically polarized world, universal ideals are rare. In India, as in many regions, the vacuum is filled by religious zealousness.  Minorities are scapegoats of every calamity as nations subdivide into religious and ethnic zones, each seemingly eager to annihilate the others, or to extinguish itself on the altar of martyrdom. 

But why?  Father, Son and Holy War explores in two parts the possibility that the psychology of violence against “the other” may lie in male insecurity, itself an inevitable product of the very construction of “manhood.” 

“Patwardhan’s impressive, passionate documentary explores in great detail the roots of sectarian violence in India today.” —Variety

National Award, Best Investigative Documentary, India
Special Jury Prize, Yamagata International Film Festival, Japan
Grand Prize, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Israel
Special Jury Prize, Vancouver International Film Festival
International Jury Prize, Bombay International Film Festival
Audience Prize, Sheffield International Film Festival

In the Name of God

Directed by Anand Patwardhan

75 min / Color / 1992

In the Name of God focuses on the campaign waged by the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to destroy a 16th century mosque. The VHP claim the mosque was built at the birthsite of the Hindu god Ram after Babar razed an existing Ram temple. They are determined to build a new temple to Ram on the same site. This controversial issue which successive governments have refused to resolve has led to religious riots which have cost thousands their lives, culminating in the mosque’s destruction by the Hindus in December of 1992. The repercussions reverberate to this day in the sub-continent.

“This is investigative cinema verité documentary at its dynamic best.” —Toronto International Film Festival

Filmfare Award Best Documentary, India
National Award Best Investigative Documentary, India
Citizen’s Prize Yamagata, Japan
National Award, Best Investigative Documentary, India
Special Jury Prize, Yamagata International Film Festival, Japan

Bombay Our City
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
75 min / Color / 1985

Tells the story of the daily battle for survival of the 4 million slum dwellers of Bombay who make up half the city’s population. Although they are Bombay’s workforce—industrial laborers, construction workers, domestic servants—they are often denied city utilities like electricity, sanitation, and water. Many slum dwellers must also face the constant threat of eviction as city authorities carry out campaigns to “beautify” the city.

Best Non-Fiction National Award, India
Special Jury Award  Cinema du Reel, Paris
Filmfare Award  Best Documentary, India

In Memory of Friends

Medium-Length Films

Fishing In the Sea of Greed
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
42 min/ Color / 1998

Fishing in the Sea of Greed documents the response of one fishing community in India to the “rape and run” industries that have begun to dominate their livelihood and decimate their environment. Under the leadership of the National Fishworkers Forum and the World Forum of Fishworkers and Fish Harvesters, workers are fighting not only for their jobs, but for the survival of the world’s coastal communities and ecosystems.

A Narmada Diary
Directed by Anand Patwardhan and Simantini Dhuru
57 min / Color / 1995

The Sardar Sarover Dam has been criticized as uneconomical and unjust. It will benefit urban India at a cost borne by the rural poor. A Narmada Diary introduces the Narmada Bachao Andolan (the Save Narmada Movement) which has led protests against the dam. As government resettlement programs prove inadequate, the Narmada Bachao Andolan has emerged as one of the most dynamic struggles in India today

Filmfare Award, Best Documentary, India
Grand Prize, Earth-Vision Film Festival, Tokyo

In Memory of Friends
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
60 min / Color / 1990

After examining the political turmoil of the late 1970s and rise of Sikh fundamentalism, the film concentrates on the legacy of Bhagat Singh, a young socialist hanged by the British in 1931 at age 23. Singh has since become an almost legendary figure. Today, both sides claim him as a symbol of their cause. Focusing on the Singh’s unlikely martyrdom, In Memory of Friends is an incisive look at the strife in India today.

Silver Conch, Bombay International Film Festival
Special Jury Prize, Mannheim International Festival, Germany
National Award, Best Investigative Documentary, India 

A Time to Rise
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
40 min / Color / 1981

This film documents the conditions among Chinese and East Indian immigrant workers in British Columbia that provoked the formation of Canadian Farmworkers Union, and the response of growers and labor contractors to the threat of unionization. Made over a period of two years, the film is eloquent testimony to the progress of the workers’ movement from the first stirrings of militancy to the energetic canvassing of union members.

“The film makes the farmworker’s union fight for recognition into a tough but exhilarating drama.” —The Vancouver Sun

Silver Dove, Leipzig International Film Festival
Grand Prize, Tyneside International Festival, UK

Prisoners of Conscience
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
45 min / Color / 1978

An important historical record of a traumatic period in India’s recent political history, Prisoners of Conscience focuses on the State of Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi from June 1975 to March 1977.

“Made under appalling conditions, displayed a courage never shown before in the documentary movement in India.” —Business Weekly Standard

Silver Dove, Leipzig International Film Festival
Grand Prize, Tyneside International Festival, UK

Children of Mandala

Short Films

Children of Mandala
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
5 min / Color / 2009

A message from the economically displaced children of a slum colony in Mumbai who are educating themselves in the face of government apathy.

Images You Didn’t See
A music video by Anand Patwardhan
5 min / Color / 2006

Global censorship of the war on Iraq has stifled the outrage that may have otherwise curtailed the ongoing atrocity of occupation. Not only have the real causes of war been hidden, but also its effects. But one place where the truth cannot be totally hidden is the Internet.

Images You Didn’t See is a music video that interprets images gleaned from the internet – images that either never appear in the mainstream media, or images whose importance are obscured by global “infotainment.” 

Ribbons for Peace
A music video by Anand Patwardhan
5 min / Color / 1999

Made in the aftermath of Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, Ribbons for Peace gives new meaning to an old song by Kishore Kumar – a kind of “Imagine” composed before the days of John Lennon.

We Are Not Your Monkeys
A music video by Anand Patwardhan
5 min / Color / 1996

We Are Not Your Monkeys is a music video that reworks the epic Ramayana story to critique the caste and gender oppression implicit in it. 

Occupation: Millworker
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
22 min / Color / 1996

Textile mills were once the backbone of Bombay’s economy and provided the city its working class culture. Today, foreign investment and rising real-estate prices have made selling mill lands more profitable than running mills. Mill ‘sickness’ is now an epidemic.

Occupation: Millworker records the inspirational action of workers who, after a four-year lockout, forcibly occupied The New Great Eastern Mill.

Waves of Revolution
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
30 min / B&W / 1974

Anand Patwardhan’s first film was made during the repressive days of the Emergency in India. Waves of Revolution documents the 1974-75 uprising of the people of Bihar in Eastern India. Completed in secret in 1975 using outdated film stock and makeshift equipment, clandestine screenings of the film took place in India during the Emergency.

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