articles by Neerja Deodhar

India

Cow vigilantism, deconstructed: What Gau Premi, a new documentary, found by trailing a group of 'rakshaks' in Gujarat

Gau Premi, shot in Gujarat’s Rajkot, captures how cow vigilantes prowl the streets at night in coordinated attempts to catch ‘smugglers’. They see themselves as eradicating a societal “disease”.

Entertainment

Danish Sait, a voice of the lockdown: Comedian-actor on his alter egos, developing a unique style and responding to critics

For his videos which satirise the conversations people are having during the lockdown, Danish Sait employs a number of personas and draws heavily on the vocabulary and obsessions of Bengaluru's residents. He also makes ingenuous – if sometimes bizarre – use of props, from cloth bags to his pet cat

Lifestyle

Bereavement, grief and mourning are complicated experiences. The pandemic has made them tougher to navigate

Though death has assumed a sort of omnipresence during the pandemic, we operate on the hope and belief that we will not be touched by it. The passing of a loved one undoes this hope.

Lifestyle

Sindhustan: Sapna Bhavnani retraces roots, tattoos history onto her body in a new documentary

In Sindhustan, Sapna Bhavnani interviews people from the Sindhi community, and turned their stories into tattoos on her legs, thus becoming a human map of Partition.

long-reads

Re-thinking productivity during the pandemic, countering a culture obsessed with being 'useful'

In a more well-adjusted world, we would not expect ourselves to be constantly productive during a pandemic. But our world is dysfunctional at best, and we need reminders about how we’re not working from home but rather "at home during a crisis, trying to work", to stop feeling disappointed in ourselves

India

With a 'Legal Cell' on Twitter, Ungender aids women seeking information about workplace laws, harassment redressal

Ungender, an organisation that has been working on the implementation of the anti-sexual harassment act and other gender-centric laws at the workplace, is offering counselling on its Twitter account. Managing partner Pallavi Pareek outlines the ways in which women are discriminated against at the workplace, and why top leadership should be more empathetic to those who raise complaints

long-reads

Inside 'Lovely Villa': The homes we build are witnesses to our lives

Lovely Villa, a housing complex in Mumbai built by architect extraordinaire Charles Correa, was more than just a building. It was a microcosm of a secular nation, a notion of ideal living, and a repository of memories past and future for its residents. Rohan Shivkumar and Avijit Mukul Kishore's documentary on it looks at how it represented making order out of chaos, both in the political and personal sense.

Life

Indian law invisibilises, discriminates against queer people; one project reimagines legislation to make it more inclusive

A project titled Queering The Law, by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, looks at the ways in which queer people can have better legal representation, in order to be able to better access the law and other civic institutions. It identifies laws that patently discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, as well as ones that operate on the male-female binary, thereby invisibilising anyone whose identity does not fall within this binary

long-reads

Under the Open Sky: Mumbra's girls find freedom, reclaim public space through football

For a group of girls in Mumbra, playing football has helped challenge prevalent social attitudes. A documentary titled 'Under the Open Sky' depicts how these girls came to engage with the sport, the challenges they overcame, and what their reclaiming of public space means

India

Leadership vaccuum, economic oppression, demonisation pushed Indian Muslim into corner, ex-RS MP Mohammed Adeeb tells Firstpost

Over the course of this conversation with Firstpost, former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammed Adeeb explains how Uttar Pradesh turned into a communal battleground and why the Muslim community has little to no political representation in the state

India

What happens at a pro-CAA rally in Mumbai: Chants about VD Savarkar, incendiary slogans and praise for Delhi Police

It took me 30 minutes to find this pro-CAA gathering, which was scheduled to take place at Churchgate station, and was later shifted to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

Life

K Satchidanandan on his raison d'être: 'A poet needs to take sides; I am with those who suffer injustice'

Poetry is like breathing, it is the way in which I respond to myself, to nature and to the world around, says K Satchidanandan. A prolific translator, he is of the opinion that translation, by virtue of being a kind of writing in itself, teaches one about the possibilities and limitations of language.

Life

Pankaj Kapur’s Dopehri never ends: Actor discusses publishing his first book, taking Amma Bi's story to the stage

Two decades ago, actor Pankaj Kapur crafted an entire novella in all of four days. The central character was born the moment he put pen to page: her name would be Amma Bi, and she would live in an old Lucknow haveli. It begins its second life now as a novella published by HarperCollins and translated into English.

Life

Dastangoi meets Gujarati literature in a new theatrical form that emphasises 'ras', challenges actors

Using the dastangoi format allows Gujarati thespians to explore those emotions — such as sorrow and anger — which cannot often be found in Gujarati theatre. Through it, they hope to raise awareness about lesser-known parts of the literary canon

Entertainment

One Child Nation review: A personal exploration of how China's infamous policy gained currency, its emotional toll

One Child Nation succeeds on two counts: It looks at the human cost of the one-child policy while portraying how the wounds resulting from it have barely healed, even as the Chinese government has moved on to a new kind of messaging — that of how two children are better than one, since the country has a shortage of young people now

Entertainment

Jio MAMI Mumbai film festival: Hany Abu-Assad on keeping Palestine alive through movies, the emptiness of 'art for art's sake'

Hany Abu-Assad doesn't want to be Palestine's interpreter for the world, he wants to make films that will make his people laugh and cry. In this conversation with Firstpost, he speaks about why he is attracted to love stories, his forays into Hollywood, and what makes a film good

India

Kolkata thespian Sudipto Chatterjee arrested after two women file FIRs against him, detailing rape, molestation

Before filing FIRs, the two women first posted their allegations against Sudipto Chatterjee on Facebook. Chatterjee will be produced in court on 19 October

long-reads

Rural Nepal's women, burdened by menstrual taboos, find solace in the forest

Photographer Uma Bista’s project Our Songs from the Forest is a testament to how the menstrual taboo of chhaupadi continues to exist in Nepal. But she goes beyond its documentation, exploring the ways in which young women are rebelling against custom and how they find solace in the forest.

Life

Rahul Mehrotra on how architecture is being divorced from social context, why we should revise definition of urbanity

In a masterclass at the India Culture Lab, Rahul Mehrotra held forth on the limited definition of urban in India, how architecture is being dictated more by aesthetics than utility and why we should build to foster empathy

News & Analysis

Toby Walsh on why machines should become smarter than us, and why 'tech is not destiny'

We should celebrate when machines execute and take over dull, repetitive jobs, Toby Walsh says. In this conversation, he speaks about the inherent biases in algorithms, holding tech companies accountable and how the fear about losing jobs to machines is misplaced