First Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship awarded to Iram Ghufran
By Reena Mohan
Managing Trustee, IAWRT India
The first Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship has been unanimously awarded to Iram Ghufran for a pre-production grant for research and script development for a documentary film MAD IS A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.
About the Project: Conservative estimates say that there are over 100,000 mentally ill people in Kashmir, whereas the numbers of mental health care professionals is abysmally low. Iram's project seeks to explore the impact of violence on mental health of people in the Valley, and create an understanding of the socio-cultural life of madness.
The word 'mad' here, has been used in a loose sense for many kinds of socially 'deviant' behaviors and patterns, everything that falls outside the socially construed 'normal'. What does it mean to not fit the parameters of ‘normal’? What kind of pathologies does violence produce? And how important is it to achieve ‘normalcy’? The research will involve working with psychiatric clinics, as well as alternative contexts of healing.
Iram Ghufran is a filmmaker based in New Delhi. Her work has been shown in several international art and cinematic contexts including the Berlin Film Festival, Experimenta India, World Social Forum and ISEA among others. She has won several awards for her work, including the National Award for ‘Best Direction’ and ‘Best Editing’.
Note from the Jury: The jury members (Padmaja Shaw, Radhika Khanna, Iffat Fatima) found ''all the proposals very well thought out, creative and presented well. Since all of them are filmmakers of some standing, they have asked for the fellowship support for a part of the larger project that they are already working on. The jury members evaluated the proposals independently and shared the marks with each other, followed by a Skype chat to finalize the award. The jury was unanimous in rating Iram Ghufran’s proposal, Mad is a Different Direction, as the top contender.''
The cheque for the first installment of the fellowship will be handed over to Iram by Jai's brother, Suresh Chandiram, at a simple ceremony at the India International Centre, Delhi. We are trying to work out a date in August that will be convenient for all.