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Oscars 2022: As India's 'Writing With Fire' awaits a possible award, its subjects maintain distance

Directed by debutants Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, Writing With Fire chronicles the rise of Khabar Lahariya, India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women.

March 27, 2022 / 10:21 PM IST
'Writing With Fire' follows this ambitious group of Dalit wonder women led by their chief reporter, Meera as the team switches from print to digital in order to stay relevant. (Image credit: Screengrab from the documentary)

'Writing With Fire' follows this ambitious group of Dalit wonder women led by their chief reporter, Meera as the team switches from print to digital in order to stay relevant. (Image credit: Screengrab from the documentary)


As we inch closer to the Oscars 2022 to be held on Monday, team India has its hopes pinned on Writing With Fire -- a documentary which has made it to the final nominations list at the 94th edition of the Academy Awards.

Directed by debutants Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, Writing With Fire chronicles the rise of Khabar Lahariya, India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women.

The film follows this ambitious group of Dalit wonder women led by their chief reporter, Meera as the team switches from print to digital in order to stay relevant.

Armed with smartphones and the courage and conviction one must be born with, they investigate the incompetence of the local police force, listen to and stand by victims of caste and gender violence, and challenge long-standing, harmful practices that lead to injustice and intimidation.

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Other nominees in the category are: Ascension, Attica, Flee, and Summer of Soul ( Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).

Meanwhile, days prior to the Academy Awards, in a lengthy blog post, Khabar Lahariya said the documentary, which the team saw recently, captures just a part of their story, "and part stories have a way of distorting the whole sometimes".

"The film is a moving and powerful document, but its presentation of Khabar Lahariya as an organisation with a particular and consuming focus of reporting on one party and the mobilisation around this, is inaccurate," the post read.

"We recognise the prerogative of independent filmmakers to present the story that they choose to, but we would like to say that this eclipses the kind of work and the kind of local journalism we have done for twenty years, the reason we are different from other mainstream media of our times. It is a story which captures a part of ours, and part stories have a way of distorting the whole sometimes."

The organisation said its team, led by Dalit but also including Muslims, OBC and upper-caste women, is committed to practise impartial journalism and isn't just a "heartwarming story" of success.

Viewers can tune into Star Movies, Star Movies HD and Star World to watch Oscars 2022.



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