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5 Short Films On Indian Handicraft You Need To Watch This Weekend!

Vaishnavi Srivastava

Looking to learn more about Indian art and handicrafts during this long weekend? Well, you happen to stumble across the right article. We at Abir Pothi have compiled a list of five documentaries on Indian Handicrafts that one must watch in order to explore more of the Indian art scene from an artisan’s perspective. The following are the short films we loved:

1. Kota Weavers

Big smiles and bigger dreams. Kota Weavers is a documentary by Craftmark and is a short film on women who produce Kota Doria fabrics. They are essentially handwoven fabrics made of pure silk and cotton materials. Kota Doria are infamous fabrics for saris, that are resultantly called Kota Sari. They are a craft origin in the Kaithun village of the Kota district in Rajasthan, which is where the documentary is set. The short film authentically celebrates and documents the words and journey of these women who handcraft the fabric. The movie showcases the intricacies behind the making of the fabric and how the makers helped these women move forward into building their own empires by eliminating middlemen, conducting training sessions and taking charge. Watch the movie on the following link.


2. Leather Puppet Making

A production of Dastkari Haat Samiti, Leather Puppet Making truly blows one’s mind when it comes to the unexplored handicrafts of India. The documentary showcases the story of puppet makers and masters from the depth of Andhra Pradesh. The technique of building the puppets is passed down to the workers for generations via their forefathers and the sturdiness of the leather allows them to use the puppets for generations without breaking. It truly leaves one stunned to discover the hard labour that goes into creating these puppets via the hide of goats used as a canvas. Broaden your horizons by watching the short documentary on the following link.


3. Weavers of Varanasi

Another production of Craftmark, Weavers of Varanasi displays the story of handloom weavers of Varanasi who produce the infamous Banarasi Sarees. The movie showcases the hardships faced by the workers as we see a 30% decline in handloom weavers over the past years which is a result of less pay and demand. The documentary portrays the firsthand experience of these artisans and their unfiltered thoughts on the business. Watch the full movie on the following link.


4. Handmade in India

A work of Malati Rao, Handmade in India is a work that showcases the delicate craftsmanship of various artisans around India. The beginning of the movie displays the following text, “ Indian Handicrafts is a family-driven tradition where skills have been taught by one generation to the next for centuries. In India, over 20 million artisans are engaged in making traditional crafts and textiles.” True to its message the movie documents a variety of handicrafts from pottery by the hands of B.R. Pandit and family to Kalamkari Paintings by Jonnalgadda Guruppa Chetty and even exploring the Pashmina shawl from Kashmir. The film represents the various nuances of being an artisan in India. Watch the full movie on the following link.


5. Kilim Carpet Weaving.

In another Production of Dastkari Haat Samiti, we explore the art of carpet weaving from the streets of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. The short film displays the intricacies and patience that go behind the skill of carpet weaving. The movie explores the process of dyeing and weaving the carpets by the artisans of Mirzapur who look forward to opening their own weaving and training centre in the city. They claim to play with colours and design via the process of trial and error to create something new and sturdy each time. Watch the full movie on the following link. 

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