“South Asian Documentary: Trajectories and Trends,” a three-day symposium, was held by the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad, from March 13-15 on the University campus. The event was supported by UoH’s Institution of Eminence (IoE) project.


Prof. Anjali Monteiro delivers the keynote address at the inauguration of the international symposium on ‘South Asian Documentary.’


The symposium simultaneously hosted a film festival curated by “Travelling Film South Asia,” a travelling version of the prestigious Film South Asia headquartered in Kathmandu. The festival was presented in partnership with TFSA. Seven selected films from TFSA 22, including the award-winning documentary ‘Taangh/Longing’ by Bani Singh of India and ‘This Stained Dawn’ by Anam Abbas of Pakistan, were screened on the aforementioned dates. Films from Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh were also shown at the festival.


Filmmaker Bani Singh takes questions from the audience after the screening of her film ‘Taangh.’


Panel discussions on the trajectories taken by documentary practitioners in South Asian countries took place. These deliberations emphasized the specific socio-political contexts, latest trends, cross-country collaborations and future possibilities open to independent documentary practitioners and audiences in the subcontinent. Panellists, including documentary filmmakers and Academics, discussed a range of topics, from decolonizing documentary practice in South Asia and gender identities to marginalities in South Asian documentary film-making and documentary ecosystem.

Panellists discuss ‘Decolonizing Documentary Practice in South Asia’ on the second day of the symposium


Professors Anjali Monteiro, KP Jayasankar, Sumathy Sivamohan (Sri Lanka), Vinod Pavarala, Usha Raman, Sathya Prakash and Anjali Lal Gupta, along with filmmakers Bani Singh, Sai Kyaw Khaing (Myanmar), RP Amudhan, Somnath Waghmare and Ajay Noronha were invited to take part in the discussions. TFSA curators Mitu Varma and Laxmi Murthy were also participants.


“Personal is political,” say the panellists discussing feminist narratives in documentaries


Mitu Varma, Director of Film South Asia, appreciated the efforts of the Department of Communication in organising the symposium. “Thank you all so much for the sharing, warmth and hospitality. UoH is really special in terms of all staff, students and faculty. It was as much a learning experience for us as it may have been for the wonderfully-engaged students,” she said.


Director of Film South Asia – Mitu Varma speaks to the audience at the symposium


Documentary students of the Department also interacted with the filmmakers on the sidelines of the symposium, discussing camerawork, preparatory research and thematic subjects.

Filmmakers Somnath Waghmare and RP Amudhan discuss caste marginalities in South Asian documentary practice with moderator Prof. Usha Raman


Filmmaker RP Amudhan addresses the audience on the third day of the symposium


Dr Sathya Prakash discusses the documentary ecosystem in South Asia with panellists Ajay Noronha and Mitu Varma


The Department of Communication team responsible for organising the international symposium were Convener Dr Sathya Prakash, Co-Convener Ms Anjali Lal Gupta and PhD scholars Namitha KS, Naznin Sultana, Manisha Madapathi, and Faseeh Ahmad EK. MA student volunteers were Sameer Kurmilla and Diwakar Tewari.


Members of the organising team of the international symposium on ‘South Asian Documentary.’