In Court – ageing Dalit activist and protest singer, Narayan Kamble is put on trial for inciting the suicide of a sewage worker. Although a weak case, with little evidence and few witnesses, Kamble is dragged through a series of meandering and inept court proceedings that only seem to prove that the odds are stacked against him.

Alongside this, the film also presents quotidian scenes of Kamble’s defence lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge, all seemingly belonging to dominant castes. As they go about their daily lives and interactions, we are invited to witness the deeply entrenched casteism, biases and corruption that plague the people and the system.

Language: Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, English (with English subtitles)

On the Edge of the Fold

Coined by the 19th century Indian social activist and thinker, Jyotiba Phule, the Marathi word Dalit (meaning crushed, broken) is a descriptor for people who were considered untouchables by the Hindu caste system. This term then took on a more progressive and political term from the early 20th century with social reformer Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, at the height of the Indian nationalist movement, as a form of solidarity against caste oppression and colonialism.

In India today, discrimination against Dalits is still a very pertinent issue, especially when observed in tandem with the rise of extreme right-wing Hinduism. Unequal opportunities in work and education, violence, abuse and denial of basic human rights plague these communities all through the country. Furthermore, Dalit experiences and narratives are generally either excluded or portrayed in an unfavourable light in mainstream media. However, the democratisation of digital technology and means of production in the past two decades have seen an increase and proliferation of literature and films that document Dalit experiences, opening up spaces for Dalit narratives to take root and thrive. On the Edge of the Fold is a programme of films made by independent voices, representing a diversity of approaches, topics and stories from Dalit India.

The programme is curated by Viknesh Kobinathan as part of the Masters degree in Film Studies Programming & Curation at the National Film & Television School


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