A still from Some Stories Around Witches
A still from Some Stories Around Witches

In the tribal villages of Odisha, a teenage girl kills an elderly relative believing that she is a witch and the cause of her father’s death. Overnight, a village turns into a mob to kill three people — a man and two women — who were identified as witches by a witch doctor. Meanwhile, a family is threatened and ostracised, for it is believed they bring ill fate, after they cook meat.

Lipika Singh Darai
Lipika Singh Darai

The audience is engaged with three real life incidents in the 53-minute documentary, Some Stories Around Witches. Directed by Bhubaneswar-based FTII alumnus Lipika Singh Darai and produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), the film explores the politics of witch hunting and the humanitarian crisis surrounding it. It will be screened tomorrow as part of the 22nd edition of Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum’s monthly screening programme, Movies At The Museum.

“There is a mystery surrounding tradition and myths about witchcraft but we should also see it in the light of socio economics and politics to understand the complexity of the events. The cases are very sensitive and my priority was to make the camera’s presence insignificant,” says Darai, who will be present for a Q&A session post the screening, which marks its premiere in Mumbai.

At the event, also catch the screening of another PSBT production, There Is Something In The Air. Directed by Delhi-based filmmaker Iram Ghufran, the Hindi-Urdu documentary is a series of dream narratives, and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women ‘petitioners’ at the shrine of a Sufi saint in north India.