Vaikhari: Experiencing India via Documentary

The Embassy of India in Berlin organised a film screening followed by a discussion with director Lubdhak Chatterjee

February 23rd, 2020

On 14th February 2020, the Embassy of India in Berlin organized a film screening of Vaikhari – an award-winning documentary directed by Lubdhak Chatterjee. The screening was later followed by a lively discussion with the director and other prominent guests.

The documentary introduces the beautiful art of Kathak dance which is, without a doubt, a significant feature of rich and splendid Indian culture. It focuses on one of the most distinct parts of kathak dance - padhant – the art of recitation of articulated utterances consisting of mnemonic and rhythmic syllables. Together with the accompanying music, these utterances are used to express certain objects or natural elements (e.g. clouds) in order to tell a story which is often based on traditional Indian literature.

To provide first-hand experience to his audience, the director decided to join hands with a renowned Kathak artist Parwati Dutta who introduces the basic ideas behind the padhant. Through her interaction with her students and accompanying musicians, the audience witnesses the imaginative and creative process of art piece creation starting with Dutta’s way of translating poems into dance moves and utterances, which is later followed by their translation into the language of musical instruments.

As a result, the audience is presented with a whole new understanding of art creation process and, in a way, is encouraged to confront its own views on what it means to be an artist and on what it imagines under the complex term of ‘art’. This new understanding definitely allows the audience to ‘see behind the curtain’ and appreciate the Indian culture for more than just its joyfulness and colourfulness.

After the screening, the audience had an opportunity to engage in a discussion with the director Lubdhak Chatterjee who explained his motivation to make this documentary film and further elaborated on the hidden meanings behind it. Furthermore, he also introduced the technique he used to direct the film and mentioned his main aim to make this film – to evoke experience in the audience.

At the end of the event, the visitors had an opportunity to taste traditional Indian dishes.

The Embassy of India in Berlin offers a rich cultural programme full of concerts, movie screenings and seminars. For detailed information about its current events please visit the Embassy’s webpage or Facebook page.


News from Berlin