DER Documentary

Acting Like a Thief

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by P. Kerim Friedman & Shashwati Talukdar
color/b&w, 15 min, 2005

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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Acting Like a Thief is about a Chhara tribal theatre group in Ahmedabad, India. Starting with the arrest of playwright DaKxin Bajrange (Chhara), the documentary reveals how the Budhan Theatre has transformed the lives of adults and children within the community.

Chhara tribals were notified as "natural criminals" by the British in 1871 and imprisoned in a labor camp in Ahmedabad. After Indian independence, they were de-notified, but the stigma of being a "born criminal" follows them to this day. The Budhan Theatre was inspired by the activism work of Mahasweta Devi.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Amnesty International Film Festival, USA, 2006
Tri Continental Film Festival, India, 2006
Ms. Film Festival, 2006
South Side Film Festival, USA, 2006
Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, USA, 2006
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY, 2007
Association for Asian Studies Conference, Boston, MA, 2007
International Asian Women's Film Festival, New Delhi, India, 2007
International Ethnographic Film Festival of the Royal Anthropological Institute, UK, 2007
International Festival of Films on Tribal Art & Culture, India, 2008

Related Resources
Film's Website
Study Guide (PDF)

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Mahasweta Devi

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts