Watch Rare Indie Movies Under A Starry Sky At This Terrace In Bangalore

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Representational Image Image Credit: Gabdig

The concept of free speech is one that India is yet to fully comprehend and the idea of artistic freedom is nowhere near being a reality. For Maraa — a media and arts collective based in Bangalore, empowering the general public to actively question social issues has become their mission.

Their work takes place in two main areas, one is to mould independent media systems towards freedom of speech and expression and the second is to create a space for diverse public dialogue. According to their website, “The former focuses on the centrality of media and its potential to mediate time, space, vocabularies and narratives in the digital age. The latter focuses on using creative practice to trigger dialogues with different actors who cross the city bringing to the fore the multiplicity of lived experiences, and worldviews they carry with them.”

A co-founder at Maraa, Ekta Mittal, spoke about her love for the cinema, and how this platform is used to expose individuals to the world of film. Every month Maraa hosts a movie screening with titles drawn from across the cinematic spectrum. Whether documentary or fiction, each film they screen is intended to highlight an aspect of Indian society that they believe needs to be a part of everyday discussion. In order to facilitate these discussions they often host Skype conversations with the directors after a screening in order to allow the audience to question the creator directly, raise questions and even challenge the decisions of the censor board.

Screening the movies on their office terrace, Maraa creates beautiful aesthetics by placing a projector screen and speakers, with blankets and bedsheets to maximise the snuggle potential. They also request their spectators to bring their own cutlery and dig into a delicious hot meal that they arrange for and hand out during the screenings. Usually conducted post work hours, the sessions go on till late in the night, creating a magical atmosphere for movies under the starry night. In the past, Maraa has also been affiliated with the Alternative Law Forum, a legal research organization, to non-commercially play banned movies such as ‘Unfreedom’, and controversial films such as the Iranian ‘A Girl Who Walks Alone At Night’. Maraa believes that opinions on politics and society should be welcomed because it adds to conversations. After the recent national tragedy of the death of infamous journalist Gauri Lankesh, Maraa sought to stir some conversation and screened ‘Our Gauri’, a documentary on her life and fragments she left behind.

The collective screens films “as protests, to protest and for protests”. Maraa plays an important role in acting as a narrative to the happenings in Bangalore and in the society, generally. The dimensions of labor, gender, caste and sexuality play an important role in the work they do and is their goal to open the collective mindset to the potential of film in effecting social change.

You can read about their upcoming screenings on their website here and track them on Facebook.

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