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Can rap culture, Urdu poetry influence morchas?

What's common between rapper Sofia Ashraf, filmmaker Fathima Nizaruddin and Urdu-Kashmiri poet Mohammad Muneem Nazir? Besides a form of expression, they use their art as a tool of resistance. Next week, they will come together at Godrej India Culture Lab for Performing Protest, an evening that explores how art works with hunger strikes and marches to help create change. "The idea is to highlight alter-narratives [alternative narratives]. Young India is protesting in a number of ways — through candle-light marches, online petitions and flash mobs. Art is also one of them," says Lab head Parmesh Shahani.

A still from Nuclear Hallucinations
A still from Nuclear Hallucinations

Fathima Nizaruddin
Fathima Nizaruddin

Ashraf will share more on the causes she supports through her music — the viral hit Kodaikanal Won't, protested against the mercury poisoning due to Unilever's thermometer plant, and Dow Vs Bhopal: A Toxic Rap Battle, appealed to the White House to help bring Dow Chemicals to bring justice for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. "Today, the culture of dissent is looked down upon and those practising it are shown in a bad light, as the powers that be clamp down with terms like anti-national. So, it's important to stress on art's role in dissent," says Ashraf, who will also showcase the tongue-in-cheek music videos she creates under the series, Sista From the South.

Sofia Ashraf. Pic courtesy/Pretika Menon
Sofia Ashraf. Pic courtesy/Pretika Menon

Mohammad Muneem Nazir
Mohammad Muneem Nazir

Delhi-based Nizaruddin, currently pursuing practice-based PhD from London's University of Westminster, will showcase Nuclear Hallucinations. The 54-minute film on the anti-nuclear struggle against the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project in Tamil Nadu, highlights cases of sedition and war against the state that have been filed against the protestors. "Cases are even filed against grandmothers running coffee shops. The film questions the totalitarian nature of pro-nuclear assertions in the form of a satirical documentary. Instead of conducting interviews, I asked the villagers to wear masks and stage impersonations," shares the director, who will also present a performance before the screening.

Parmesh Shahani
Parmesh Shahani

Nazir will perform Urdu poetry that reflects the turmoils in the Valley. "My music appeals to people to be compassionate," he says. The trio will come together for a panel discussion about their work process.

ON: October 27, 5 pm
AT: Godrej One, Vikhroli East.
RSVP: indiaculturelab@godrejinds.com


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