POSTED ON MARCH 28, 2022
Oscars 2022: ‘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.
Writing with Fire, India’s first documentary to be nominated for Best Documentary lost to the critic favourite Summer of Soul in the Oscars 2022.
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.
Despite the miss in Oscars 2022, support for the documentary on social media have been increasing even without any major promotions.
“Disappointed that #WritingWithFire missed the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Hoping though that this documentary will be the spark in India to kindle the conscience of a largely compromised media,” commented Twitter user Srinath Shiragalale.
Another user Jason Rezaian tweeted, “Writing With Fire deserves the Oscar for Best Documentary.”
Interestingly, 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.
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.
Indianfilm Writing With Fire lost to Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) in the best documentary feature category at the 94th Academy Awards.
Writing With Fire is the first Indian feature documentary to be nominated for the Oscars. The documentary which chronicled the story of Khabar Lahariya, India’s only women-led rural newspaper, is created by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh.
The Khabar Lahariya team recently issued a statement about the way they were represented in the documentary. “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,” they said in a statement last week.
Summer Of Soul (Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is directed by the Roots frontman Ahmir Thompson, best known by his stage name Questlove.
For the film, Thompson arranged the never-seen-before archival footage of the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting Black pride and unity, attended by 300,000 people in the summer of 1969. It was a festival favourite winning both the grand jury and audience awards in the US Documentary Competition category at the Sundance Film Festival 2021