Folk Songs from 1857 A TV Serial by Arun Chadha (1997)
A 4 parts series on Folk songs related to the revolt of Indians against the British colonial reign in 1857 was prepared for Indian national television, “Doordarshan”, as part of the celebrations for 50th anniversary of Independence of India in 1997.
Folk singers and folk songs had been the key instrument of communication between the different parts of the country, in an era when majority of population didn’t know reading or writing and no other means of communications existed. Those folk-songs also helped in mobilizing popular support from rural India about the attempts of revolutionaries in fighting against the colonial rule. This tradition of keeping the oral historical memories through folk-songs is now increasingly under threat of extinction from the newer communication instruments like films, music, radio, television, etc. Thus it was considered important to identify the existing traditional folk singers and to record their old songs related to the events of 1857.
Mr. Kamal Kothari, an expert on the folk-songs and oral history traditions in India collaborated for the realization of this series of documentary films.
Some stills from the film are presented here.