Directed by Anand Patwardhan • Documentary • 1995 • 120 minutes
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.”
Part 1: TRIAL BY FIRE a reference to the ordeal with which the Hindu god-king Rama tested his wife’s fidelity, looks at the communal fires that have consumed India in recent years. “Sati,” a rite by which Roop Kanwar was thrown on her husband’s funeral pyre; the upper castes’ “purifying” fire rituals and the communal fires that ravaged Bombay after the demolition of a mosque in Ayodhya, are set against a small group of fire fighters: a Rajasthani woman who, against the odds, condemns Sati; a Muslim woman who battles gender discriminatory laws; and a band of Hindus and Muslims who march for communal harmony in the riot-torn streets of Bombay.
“Anand Patwardhan’s impressive, passionate documentary explores in great detail the roots of sectarian violence in India today. A natural for cutting-edge TV docu slots, the film, which is extremely well researched and assembled, should also be widely seen at upcoming fests.” —Variety