Womeniya, a documentary on India’s first all women band from Bihar, screened at Bihar Museum

The screening of Womeniya- rhythm of change, a documentary based on the all-women “Nari Gunjan Sargam Band” was held in Bihar Museum Patna on Sunday, September 30, 2018. The documentary tracing the journey how the band was formed is directed by Aakash Arun.

Sushil Kumar, ASP of Bihar Police, started the event by addressing everyone in the auditorium of Bihar Museum. He invited Md. Yusuf, director of the Bihar Museum, on the stage for sharing few words with the crowd.

It is a matter of pride that the screening of such a beautiful documentary, Womeniya based on the flight of women is held at Bihar Museum. I do not want Bihar Museum to be exclusive for the elite class only. The vision is to promote Bihar Museum as a museum for common people.”

Prior to the screening of the documentary, the ladies of the Sargam band started things off with an electrifying performance which left the audience in awe. The band sang a song which raised very basic questions about independence and showed the obvious bridge between the elites and the underprivileged. The lyrics of the song were,

“Bade Bade babu logan ke toshak chahi, humni ke chatai mohaal

Kaisan aazadi kahal jala, batawa bhaiya…”

Which basically meant that

“The elite section of the society needs bed and pillows and here we’re struggling for the mat only. Is this independence looks like?”

After the performance by the band everyone settled down the lights were dimmed and the documentary started. The documentary peeped into the daily lives of the band members and showed the problems they face in their day to day life. The struggles faced by the band members because of their social status and their gender was shown beautifully in the documentary.

The band members Savita, Anita, Pancham, Chhatiya, Sona, Lalti, Bijanti, Domni, Manti, and Chitralekha belong to a small village Dhibra, Danapur.  They have been trained by a music teacher named “Aditya Gunjan” from Patna for eight months. These women have been performing at weddings, ceremonies and festivals and have received great acclaim for their performance. It showed that how the first time the band performed in their music teacher Aditya Gujan’s wedding. This was like a Gurudakshina for him by the students. How in the beginning the society looked down upon them and how their own husbands forbade them for going out and playing drums in the events, this all was shown beautifully in the documentary. As the documentary Womeniya, went ahead it showed how their husbands themselves felt proud after they saw the women getting success and progressing towards a better tomorrow. The society stopped talking bad about the band and started appreciating them for their efforts.

You May Also Read: Breaking Stereotypes | Bihar’s first all women band of drummers.

The documentary is directed by Aakash Arun who belongs to Chhapra district of Bihar and is independent documentary filmmaker. About the documentary Womeniya he said,

“This movie is about all those sayings that this is not a woman’s work and how the society has a fixed set of norms which decides what’s the work of men and what’s for women.”

The documentary received a warm round of applause after it ended. Then Sudha Varghese, who’s behind this wonderful initiative, was invited on stage to share the thought behind the whole thing. She said,

“I’m feeling very proud because of this band and how confidently they performed on the stage and stood for themselves. They broke the common myth that there is only a certain set of works like household chores and raising a child which women can do and works like playing drums, performing in an events and earning money are confined to men. Without breaking this common myth we can never move towards a progressive society.

On 21st of September Sudha Varghese appeared on a very popular TV show KBC where this very band performed and showed their confidence to whole India.

Savita Devi, one of the band members came on stage and shared her experiences. She said,

The credit behind all the success we achieved goes to Sudha Didi and our teacher Aditya Gunjan. Sudha didi gave us the opportunity to learn something and use it for the betterment of our lives. Aditya Bhaiya taught us everything in a very friendly manner and cope up with all our tantrums. He coordinated with our timings and kept coming continuously to teach us. We could not understand the musical terms so he started teaching us with the help of local words we use in our daily lives like Dal Bhat, Hali-Hali. We went to so many places to perform but most significant of them was performing in front of honorable foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj in Delhi. For the very first time in our life we travelled via flight.”

In the end Sushil Kumar concluded the event by saying,

“We’re really very happy that these women are making Biharis proud by their performance and we wish them all the success in their lives. It is really very generous of the director of Bihar Museum, Md. Yusuf that after watching the trailer of the documentary Womeniya, he let the documentary to be screened inside the museum auditorium.”

The event ended by the soothing performance of the “Nari Gunjan Sargam Band”.


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Quote of the day:“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. 
Hillary Clinton