Film: Tana Bana – the warp and the weft

Copyright Annie DibbleTana Bana is a weaving term meaning ‘the warp and the weft.’ In Varanasi, the legendary Hindu city, it also means the warp and weft of time and space as well as the daily synergy of Hindu and Moslem. But now Varanasi is under threat.

If a single weaver can operate four power looms at the same time and the weavers are unable to teach their skills to their children, how can the city survive?

This unique, intimate documentary takes  a journey through a day in the life of Varanasi, challenging preconceptions along the way. From Hindu prayers on the Ganges at dawn, the film moves into a Moslem world where the hidden lives of women and children are gradually revealed as the weavers attempt to address the huge forces dominating their lives.

For a number of years the filmmakers have  filmed the Muslim handloom weavers and their community in Varanasi India – who make silk zari brocades and wedding saris.

Tana Bana will show as part of the V&A Museum Fabric of India Exhibition on the 16th November 2015. The hosts are the London Asia Film Festival and the venue is Regent’s Street Cinema, W1.

designer - copyright Mudita productions/ Shivani KattarThe film narrates a day in the life of the weaving community: the Muslim weavers and their families, and the making and the trading of zari cloth that has its beginnings in the mists of time.

It takes a hard look at the crisis which affects these weavers who are part of a lineage that goes back 1000 years to Persia, and some of who’s ancestors were the craftsmen who made the fabrics on show at the V&A

The couriers of Mughal India wore zari brocades that were woven by ancestors of the subjects of this film and are a part of the fabric collection on show in the Fabric of India Exhibition. Pat Murphy and Annie Dibble will attend the viewing.

Tana Bana has been shown in film festivals in Ireland and Vancouver.
ramnagarText and first  image copyright: with thanks to Annie Dibble
Latter two images copyright: Mudita productions/ Shivani Kattar

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