The Dalit Film and Cultural Festival 2019 is all set to take place at Columbia University, New York on February 23 and 24. The festival includes feature films as well as documentaries. Two Tamil films and one Malayalam film are part of the six shortlisted feature films.
In Tamil, Pariyerum Perumal directed by Mari Selvaraj, and Kaala directed by Pa Ranjith have made it to the list while it's Jayan K Cherian's Papilio Buddha which has been selected in Malayalam. Pa Ranjith is also one of the three honourable guests at the festival, the others being acclaimed Marathi filmmaker Nagraj Manjule, and actor and former Miss India Earth Niharika Singh.
Other feature films on the list are Masaan, Fandry, and Bole India Jai Bhim.
The documentaries by southern filmmakers which will be screened at the festival include Kakkoos by Divya Bharathi, We Have Not Come Here to Die by Deepa Dhanraj, and Gandhi, Untouchables and Me by Rampilla Rao. Pistulya by Nagraj Manjule, The Battle of Bhima Koregaon by Somnath Waghmare, and Dalan Series from Nepal are the other documentaries which will be part of the festival.
This is the first edition of the festival, and the selected films explore different assertions of the Dalit identity in cinema. It is to be noted that it was at Columbia University that Dr BR Ambedkar received his PhD in Economics in 1927. He was also awarded an honorary degree by the university in 1952 for his pioneering work in human rights and social reform.