Writing With Fire gets nominated for 2022’s Oscar nomination which is s a huge achievement for India.
In February Oscars 2022 nominations list was revealed. Indian documentary Writing With Fire gets a nomination at Oscars 2022 in the Best Documentary category. The documentary is competing alongside major movies like The Power of the Dog, Belfast, and The West Side Story.
It’s a documentary about Khabar Lahariya, India’s first news channel led by Dalit women journalist Kavita Devi; Meera Jatav. It shows the journey of two women who took rise to the challenges with smartphones as their weapon.
The documentary is directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh and is the first Indian documentary to be nominated for an Academy Award.
It took Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas almost five years to make the documentary. It also won two awards after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, followed by multiple accolades. And now, Writing With Fire might bring home an Oscar in the Best Documentary category.
Writing With Fire shows Dalit women journalists, led by chief reporter Meera, working in the rural belt of India, trying to stay true to their work as they shift from print to digital journalism.
India’s first submission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was Mother India in the Best International Feature Film category in 1958. Since then, we have been sending films and documentaries to them, but unfortunately, none have emerged victorious. Yes, individuals have won the prestigious award for India, from Bhanu Athaiya – the first Indian to win an Oscar for Best Costume Design in the 1983 film Gandhi, to AR Rahman – who has won two Oscars for his musical genius. But, Writing With Fire could change things for India.
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The 94th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on 27th March at 8 pm ET. In India, the ceremony will be aired at 5.30 am on Monday, 28th March. Oscars 2022 will be broadcast on Star Movies, Star Movies HD and Star World from 6.30 am.
About Khabar Lahariya
Khabar Lahariya is an Indian newspaper founded by Meera Jatav and Kavita Devi.
It has been working from Karwi since the newspaper was started in 2002., published in various rural dialects of Hindi, including Bundeli, Avadhi, and Bajjika dialects. It was started by Nirantar, a New Delhi-based non-government organization that focuses on gender and education, but now covers local political news, local crime reports, social issues, and entertainment, all reported from a feminist perspective.
The first issue of the paper was published in May 2002 from the town of Karwi in Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, in the local Bundeli dialect of Hindi. In 2012, the newspaper launched editions from Mahoba, Lucknow, and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh in Bundeli, Awadhi, and Bhojpuri dialects respectively. The newspaper also has an edition published from the Sitamarhi district of Bihar in Bajjikka dialect, and from Banda, Uttar Pradesh, in the Bundeli dialect. As of September 2012, its total print-run, all editions included, was around 6000 copies sold in about 600 villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with an estimated readership of 20,000.
The website of Khabar Lahariya was launched on 13 February 2013 in Mumbai. The website, which bears a striking resemblance to the printed newspaper, curates and republishes the best articles of the newspaper. It is also the only website where content is available in the local dialects in which the newspaper is brought out. Some stories on the website are now available in English.
Starting in 2016, the newspaper shifted largely to a digital format launching a video channel and creating news in video clips. The women journalists collective now runs a digital media agency covering stories from rural India, mostly from the state of Uttar Pradesh. As a result of digitalization, the news outlet has substantially increased its reach.
The intellectual input for the newspaper is provided by a collective of 40 rural women journalists. The newspaper is written, edited, produced, distributed, and marketed entirely by rural women from disadvantaged communities (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Dalits, and Muslims). The women who report the stories also edit, produce, distribute and market the newspaper.
The newspaper specializes in exposing local scandals. It mainly carries local news that, although primarily of interest to its rural readership, has wider resonance nationally and internationally. Examples are reports on violence against women, discrimination against Dalits, deaths in illegal mining operations, and the rise of Hindu nationalism.
In 2004, the collective of women journalists bringing out Khabar Lahariya was awarded the prestigious Chameli Devi Jain Award for Women in Journalism. In 2009, the newspaper was awarded the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. Following this, plans to expand the newspaper were made. In 2012, the newspaper went on to win the Laadli Media Award for gender-sensitive reporting.
Also, in the same year, the Indian news channel Times Now awarded Khabar Lahariya the Amazing Indian Award. In 2013 the newspaper was presented with the Kaifi Azmi Award in memory of poet Kaifi Azmi. The award is presented by the All India Kaifi Azmi Academy every year on the anniversary of his death.
In 2014, German media channel Deutsche Welle awarded the prestigious Global Media Forum Award to the newspaper’s website at the Best of Blogs annual conference held in Bonn in Germany.
An Indian documentary film about the newspaper titled Writing with Fire was released in 2021. It has won numerous international awards, including some at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards. The publication also won a Courage Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation in June for how it “disrupts and interrogates the status quo, where newsmakers have long been male, upper-caste, and politically connected”.