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Saturday, June 3, 2023

‘Thewa’ – a documentary that celebrates the unsung heroes of this extraordinary Bharatiya jewellery art

The documentary film ‘Thewa’ revolves around those unsung heroes of the Bharatiya art and craft community that have kept alive this extraordinary jewellery art that employs fragile sheets of gold fused on colored glass to produce remarkable and exquisite designs on gold sheets carved through miniature tools.

There are in total 12 families still engaged in this art, dating back to the 18th century. They are based out of the small town of Pratapgarh in Rajasthan; amongst them are many National and State award winners.

Some extraordinary pieces of this art, from the erstwhile land of the Maharajas, Rajasthan, are still preserved in museums across the world, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London etc. In fact the piece in London, presented to Queen Victoria by Raja Dalpat Singh, was created by the grandfather of 96-year-old Ramniwas Rajsoni (featured in this film), currently the oldest living Thewa artisan.

In this hour long documentary, the artisans share ‘why they do not teach this art to the womenfolk in their families?’ while also discussing ‘what needs to be done to save as well as promote this art’, ‘their expectations from the government’ and other questions about the art.

The film is directed by Shivani Pandey, a filmmaker, photographer, and writer who has served as jury member for various film festivals. She has screened her films and exhibited her work in Bharat and internationally.

In an interaction after the film’s screening, writer and director Shivani Pandey answered the audience’s questions about Thewa art and also shared the story behind the film’s production. She said “with support of an institution like IGNCA, a rare art like Thewa is being preserved as it is. There is a great chance that such arts might not survive for long without due patronage. And so their preservation and conservation is an important task”.

While praising the film, writer Malvika Joshi said that a unique art was revealed through this film. She said it is through such films that our arts and culture can be preserved. Former Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) member, Atul Gangwar opined that films based on arts and culture of other states too should be similarly brought to our audiences, enabling arts and culture of Bharat to reach a national and international audience. He said films like Thewa are doing a great job of preserving the arts and culture of our country.

Founder and former senior advisor DD Kisan, Naresh Sirohi, a kisan leader, praised the film’s in-depth research and production quality. The screening was attended by various media personalities, University professors and students as well.

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