By Anandi Mishra
Artist Pallavi Paul at her residence in Delhi (Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint)
It’s the late 1970s, post-Emergency Delhi. The police are trying to help a lost child. But the only thing she is able to tell them is that the family’s pet is a blind rabbit.
Delhi-based contemporary video artist Pallavi Paul got the working title for her second documentary on the Emergency, The Blind Rabbit, from this tale narrated by a retired policewoman. The documentary is based on the life of Delhi’s policewomen during that period.
Paul has been showing as an artist working with visuals and the moving image since 2014. Her works have been exhibited at Mumbai’s Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Films Division, Delhi, and at the Mumbai International Film Festival.
Her latest documentary is being made with the help of a grant from the India Foundation for the Arts. She says she chose the topic because she wanted to initiate a dialogue about the power of the police and “their role as psycho-geographers”. “We have always heard and understood these stories from the outside, never from the inside. I want to think about the inner life of power,” says the 31-year-old. The documentary will look at the intersection of power, gender, and narrativization of memory. “It is challenging to look at under-documented moments that do not have archived traces,” says Paul. Through the film, she wants to examine “how power can be thought of outside the binaries of repression or rebellion”. One of her earlier films—Long Hair, Short Ideas (2017)—dealt with the idea of the Emergency through the life of the revolutionary poet Vidrohi’s wife.
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