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Naata (The Bond)

Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; 617-926-0491
Produced by K.P. Jayasankar & Anjali Monteiro
Director n/a
VHS, color, 45 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Social Sciences, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies

Reviewed by Geetha Yapa, Science Library, University of California, Riverside

Date Entered: 7/28/2006

Naata (The Bond) is about promoting communal harmony through effective use of audio visual media, developed at the grassroots level by neighborhood peace committees in Dharavi, Mumbai. The documentary tells the story of how people in the community get together, and making use of available resources, come up with a strong message that aims to create amity among people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Dharavi is considered the largest slum in Asia. It has a population of nearly 800,000 and the community is made up of people who have migrated to the area from other parts of the country bringing with them expertise in a variety of different trades and crafts. The film provides a vivid picture of the daily life of the people living in the city. The directors use personal stories to illustrate the history of migration, which are enhanced by visits to places representing different trades such as the pottery, recycling, and ready made garment and embroidery industry.

Dharavi was affected by the deadly riots of 1992-93, which prompted the people in the community to get together to prevent future conflicts. The documentary shows how the process, which began as a simple poster to create communal harmony, developed into a short documentary, and finally emerged as a one hour film shown on national television.

This is the second in a series on the people and the city of Mumbai. It highlights the importance of community involvement in conflict resolution and resourcefulness of the people who live and work under appalling conditions. It projects the need for communal harmony in such a way that it is easy for common people to understand the message. Naata has been screened at many film festivals around the world. It could be used as a very effective medium in educating people in similar situations, living under threat of communal violence. Recommended for college and academic libraries with strong Asian studies and ethnic studies collections.

More reviews about Naata are available on the Films for Freedom Festival web site