Writing With Fire: 2022 Oscar-Nominated Indian Documentary Feature
The story of Khabar Lahariya – a grassroots newspaper run by Dalit women.
The last time a film from India made it to the Oscars was in 2019 and it was with a documentary short titled “Period. End of Sentence.” The movie won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. In 2022, another documentary surrounding the stories of women has made it to the Oscars. This time, it is a feature. Directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, Writing With Fire is the story of the forces behind Khabar Lahariya, a grassroots newspaper run by a small group of Dalit women in Uttar Pradesh.
Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh reaction to the Oscar nomination:
The story and its reception around the world:
Focusing on the characters of three women with different personalities, and a group that comes in a solidarity of Dalit sisterhood, the story is said to begin at a time when the newspaper shifts into a digital landscape and how the group of women learn to use smartphones as tools to capture and spread news.
The audience seem to have two reactions to the film: one is of awe, and the other is of fear. The awe comes from watching the inspiring characters of these women, whose way of journalism seems to be compassionate, yet firm. The fear, on the other hand, roots from a look into their oppressed lives that, at any moment, could face death at the hands of an upper-caste, Hindu nationalists.
Navigating the world of gender, caste, technology, democracy, and politics in a state with high political, gender-based, and caste-based crime rates, Writing With Fire is said to be a much-needed piece of documentary for the times we are living in and an inspiring and eye-opening story for women journalists across the globe.
Writing With Fire is set to be released on March 28, 2022 on PBS, but any news of other streaming services is still uncertain.
Writing with Fire Trailer: