Renowned filmmaker Pa Ranjith’s Neelam Panpattu Maiam (Neelam Cultural Centre) presented ‘The Vaanam Art Festival’, a counter culture movement that aims to rewrite Dalit history through art.
The festival includes film screenings, literary meets, and exhibitions and has been going on from 9 April. It concludes on 30 April. This year, the festival is being conducted across various locations in Tamil Nadu, and it coincides with the Dalit History Month.
Ranjith spoke to The Quint about organizing the PK Rosy film festival, a part of the Vaanam Art Festival, wherein anti-caste films were screened. He said that art is an influential medium, and it is very important to deal with it with utmost responsibility.
"My films don't punch down on people with disabilities, people of color, they don’t promote misogyny, and don't mock transgender people. They will be inclusive, and own all the responsibilities. It is not something unconscious. I do it very consciously to ensure such mistakes don't happen".Pa Ranjith, Filmmaker
"Within the art form, within the politics I embody, I try to alter and change the problems that come with it and make it accessible to everyone. This has led to huge discussions. We are making a separate format like the art film and bringing it to mainstream cinema by making it inclusive".
Pa Ranjith also said that he draws inspiration from Babasaheb Ambedkar every time he faces criticisms. He added that he believes learning politics is like an applied art. When we share our opinions, when people connect with them, they debate on whether the opinions are right or wrong.
"If they feel I am right, they accept, else they get angry as if I have said something wrong. People point it out to me, and if I feel they are right, I change it. So only when we apply, we can create something. That is the case with my films like Attakathi, Madras, Kabali, Kaala, Sarpatta Parambarai and even now with Dhammam and Natchathiram Nagargiradhu", the filmmaker told The Quint.
Vaanam Art Festival highlights the work of Dalit artistes and celebrates their lives, which are invisiblized by dominant caste narratives. It questions the false narratives and the stereotypical portrayal of marginalized groups in cinema. The festival serves as a platform for artists from marginalized communities to showcase their works.
Check out the full interview to know more.