The Chanderi film story
Umar "Bachu-Bhai" Ansari has established his family as one of the top weaving groups in the town. As a family of three brothers and many children, they all live in the same large extended family compound where they have grown and prospered. Each year the major event of the Muslim community is the "Shaddi" marriage season. And this year, six of the young Ansaris of the ages 19 to 24 years old will be having weddings. The event will be a major turning point in the live's of the family. All six of the young Ansaris will be married on the same day, during one giant celebration. This wedding in Chanderi, is the center theme of the film.
The film takes place in the town of Chanderi, situated in the historic Budelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. The township now has a population of 30,000 with 50% of the population engaged in the hand-weaving trade. The fabrics made here have been renowned since the 13th century for their gossamer quality and intricate field patterns. Their uniqueness and quality was so great the work came to be know as "Chanderi". From the the Delhi Sultans to the Mughal emperors, Babar and Akbar to Rani Lakshmibai, Chanderi has been the fabric of royalty.
Today the tradition of Chanderi fabrics is still carried on. In the town there are over 3000 working hand looms. The Ansari family are one of the weaving families who's lives revolve around their craft and the perpetuation of Chanderi hand-weaving. Their lives are a balance of craftsmanship, community, and individual talent. It is said that in Chanderi each person is like a single thread, individually fragile, but woven together, they become a fabric that is strong, and woven in the patterns are the stories and lives and intricacies that make up the human story.
As an added depth, the filmmaker enlisted the young Ansari family members to participate in the film making process. They learned how to use the still and video cameras so they could be active participants in telling their own story. The young weaver's, themselves born crafts-folk, picked up the concepts of composition and shooting with ease, in no time they were imposing their own creativity and imagination into the film shooting process.
I lived in Chanderi on and off for over four months and visited there for three years in a row. The majority of the film shooting takes place during the five formal days of the marriages, and a week or two before and after.
The film also offers a unique and intimate look into the world of the Muslim weaving community of Central India, a world rarely seen let alone recorded by outsiders.
This is the story of young folks getting married in a small town in Central India. To use the weaving metaphor, here are six threads woven into the patterns of family, community, town, tradition, culture, and make up the complex fabric of humanity.
The film will be entering and submitting to festivals the summer of 2013.