Shabnam Virmani – Being With Kabir (POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 PRECAUTION)


Retreat with Shabnam Virmani & Swagath Sivakumar

23-26 April 2020, Deer Park, Bir, Himachal Pradesh


A four-day immersion in the poetics, politics, and experience of Kabir through films, songs, and conversations. Each afternoon will bring you a musical documentary questing for Kabir in a distinct socio-cultural context, traversing both inner and outer topographies. The day shall end with an in-depth Satsang on the themes of Belonging, Loving, Dying and Awakening, as evoked in the songs of Kabir, sung and shared along with translations and dialogue.


Four Films on Kabir directed by Shabnam Virmani:

Had-Anhad: Journeys with Ram and Kabir: Kabir was a 15th-century mystic poet of north India who defied the boundaries between Hindu and Muslim. He had a Muslim name and upbringing, but his poetry repeatedly invokes the widely revered Hindu name for God – Ram. Who is Kabir’s Ram? This film journeys through song and poem into the politics of religion and finds a myriad answer on both sides of the hostile border between India and Pakistan. (103 min, Silver Trophy, Best Non-Fiction Film, Indian Documentary Producers’ Association Awards, 2009; 1st Prize (shared), One Billion Eyes Documentary Film Festival, Chennai, 2008)


Chalo Hamara Des: Journeys with Kabir and Friends: A journey in search of the “des” (country) invoked in the poetry of Kabir, this film interweaves the stories of two people from two very different countries, Indian folk singer Prahlad Tipanya and North American scholar Linda Hess. Where is Kabir’s country? The answer is elusive, as we journey through song and poem into these two lives, brought together in an unlikely friendship by the cross-cultural resonance of Kabir. (98 min, Certificate of Merit, Best Non-Fiction Film, Indian Documentary Producers’ Association Awards, 2009)


Koi Sunta Hai: Journeys with Kumar and Kabir: Interweaving the folk music traditions of the mystic poet Kabir with the life and music of the late classical singer Kumar Gandharva, this film searches for that elusive sound, that jhini si awaaz, Kabir urges us to hear. Where does it resonate, that subtle sound? Journeying between folk and classical, oral and written, rural and urban expressions of Kabir, the film finds moments of both continuity and rupture between these disparate worlds. (96 min, 2009)

Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein: Journeys with Sacred & Secular Kabir: Kabir spoke his poems in the market place, his spirituality firmly grounded in the public square. 600 years after his time, Kabir is found in both spaces – sacred and secular. This film interweaves his deification by the Kabir Panth sect with his secular appropriation by the social activist group Eklavya. The story unfolds through the life of Prahlad Tipanya, a Dalit singer whose participation in both domains, begins to raise difficult questions for him about ritual and organized religion. (94 min, 2009, Special Jury Award, 58th National Film Awards for 2010, Government of India)



Apr 23 - 26 2020


All Day


Deer Park Institute, Bir
Deer Park Institute