Official Selection - International Women
American Anthropological Association - S
Federation of Film Societies of India-SI
Official Selection - International Assoc
Indian Documentary Producers Association

The Ghetto Girl

Documentary, 28 mins, India

Credits: Director, Producer, Editor, Second Camera

The Ghetto Girl was a name used for me as I went to school in New Delhi during the 1990s. My home was in a Muslim neighbourhood known as 'The Little Pakistan'. The school was in a part of the city that saw a massive post-liberalization transformation; a city of malls, apartments blocks and buildings. But the lives of people who lived close by saw little change. I revoke that process of name-calling in this personal documentary that unfolds as a third person narrative about a girl who walks the streets in search of a lost home movie. Streets are full of stories about disillusionment that have come to constitute the experience of being middle-class Muslims in India today. This sense of disillusionment finds a way home in a mother who refuses to be photographed, due to her changing beliefs. But the girl discovers an abandoned family album, bringing her memories of a time when it was possible to photograph. But was this a family album or a home movie? Did it really exist, or was it part of the girl’s false memory? The search takes the girl into inventing her own maps, creating her own home movie and reflecting on the meaning of belonging, community and history. A tale of love and loss about being Muslim in India today. After making the film, I received a letter from the Censorship Board requiring me to remove sections in the film that referred to this neighbourhood as ‘Little Pakistan’, since there are so many Muslims in this neighbourhood, it is an ‘assumed’ hiding ground for terrorists. So here is the double bind: one cannot speak as a Muslim, even though one is targeted as such.

 

“An intimate and personal exploration of the intersectional experience of Muslim women in India”. 

Urvashi Butalia, noted Indian feminist writer, publisher and activist.

“A "transgression" of borders by even observing, and certainly of using the camera. Your transgression of being a woman and pressing your point.  And the utter exclusion, the wall that is erected in response---the categorical exclusion of your body and mind, and the exclusion of your gaze.  A powerful, dense, incisive piece”. 

Sarah Drury, NYC based Artist and Curator, Borders in a Single Shot: After Farocki, Berlin

Awards 

Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, Best Graduate Student Film Award, American Anthropological Association, USA 2014

Indian Documentary Producers Association Award for Excellence, India 2012

Special Jury Award, Federation of Film Societies of India-SIGNS, 2012

Juried Exhibitions

Loss and Transience, Hong Gah Museum, Taiwan 

Art Creates Change, Kym Preusse Speaker Series, Toronto, Canada

Borders in a Single Shot: After Farocki / Ehmann’s Labor in a Single Shot, The Farocki Academy, Berlin 

Elephants in the Dark, Refractions on Muslim Identity, Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology

International Visual Sociology Association, New York

Huret and Specter Gallery, Boston 

William Harris Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology

Screenings

I View World Human Rights Film Festival

New York City South Asian Film Festival

Official Selection, International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul, S. Korea

Official Selection, Tempo Dokumentär Festival, Stockholm

Official Selection International Association of Women in Radio and Television, Our Lives to Live

Official Selection, International Film Festival of Kerala, India

Official Selection, The Open Frame Film Festival, India

International Conference on Islam, Gender and Youth in South and South-East Asia, Berlin

Deptt. of Visual Anthropology, Towson University, Washington DC

Young India Fellowship Program, Ashoka University, India 

Kriti, New Delhi, India

Alliance Française, Mumbai, India

Publications

The Ghetto Girl, Media Fields Journal, Issue 5: Critical Explorations in Memory and Space, University of California Santa Barbara 2012

Crew

Editing Consultant: Sikay Tang

Cinematographer: Shakeb Ahmed

Distribution: The Public Service Broadcasting Trust, India

Related: Tales From a Place Less Travelled