Every couple of years, Ram Nath leaves his fields and buffaloes in the upper reaches of the Himalayan valley of Kullu in North India in order to play the part of human sacrifice in a mysterious purification ritual. During the ritual, Ram Nath transforms from a highland peasant into the master of ceremonies, a powerful redeemer who cuts holes (chidra) in the fabric of society, collecting sins into a cosmic trap that only he can operate. Chidra follows Ram Nath through the ritual, revealing how men, gods, and mediums handle the dangerous substance of actions (karma) at the frontier of the Hindu cultural sphere.
Wonderful detail. Really gets the sense of something dark and dangerous happening just out of sight. Very Shakespearean - the presence of the fool, and all the smiles and jokes, thinly masking the horror. Brilliant.
Professor Charles Ramble
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes - Paris Sciences et Lettres
"Chidra means “pierced,” but we are left wondering: who is pierced, and by what or by whom? Chidra has created a space for introspection and contemplation, and for reconciliation and atonement."
Film review: HIMALAYA Journal, By Mark Turin, December 2018
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Learn more about the ritual:
NADAV HAREL, director / producer
Nadav Harel is founder of Noprocess Films, a Tel Aviv based film production house. Nadav has studied filmmaking in NYC in the nineties, ever since he has been working in documentary and fiction as an editor, writer, producer, cinematographer, and director. Nadav's work educates and inspires audiences around the world with subjects related to culture, science, politics and nature. His work has been screened in prestigious venues such as the BBC, Museum of Natural History, New York, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Harvard and Columbia universities, Berlinale, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) NYC, and many other broadcasters and film festivals.
ARIK MORAN, screenwriter/researcher
Arik Moran (Oxon 2010) is a member of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel. Combining historical methodologies with ethnographic practice, his work focuses on the Himalayan regions of Northern India. His forthcoming monograph, Hindu Kingship and Polity on the Himalayan Borderland (Amsterdam University Press, 2018), explores the reformulation of elite identities in the early colonial Himalaya and complements earlier articles on historical topics of the region that appeared in various platforms. He is currently researching the evolution of ritual cultures in Himachal Pradesh, including those that feature in the movie Chidra.