Lalit Vachani

Lalit Vachani (New Delhi based Wide Eye Film)

November 2011 - January 2012


Lalit Vachani is a research fellow affiliated with the MPI and the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in 2011-2012, and will be working on his project entitled, Maidan Histories, a visual ethnography and archive of the Shivaji Park in Mumbai.

Vachani is a documentary filmmaker and director of the New Delhi based Wide Eye Film. He studied at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

His documentary films include The Academy (1995; Business India Television) and The Starmaker (1997) on the star system and social worlds of the Bollywood film industry; The Boy in the Branch (1993; Channel 4 TV) and The Men in the Tree (2002) on the ideology and politics propagated by the Hindu fundamentalist organization, the RSS; and Natak Jari Hai/The Play Goes On (2005) on socialist street theater in India.

In 2007 and 2008 he directed The Salt Stories and In Search of Gandhi, road movie documentaries that retraced the path of Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march in the context of modern, globalizing Gujarat in India. His most recent work has been produced for India’s Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT). Tales from Napa (2010), is the remarkable story of a little village that resisted the forces of Hindu fundamentalism during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, India.

Vachani’s films have received support from the Soros and Sundance Documentary Foundations, the Jan Vrijman Fund, and the India Foundation for the Arts. Some of the venues and film festivals where his work has been shown are: International Documentary Film Association (IDFA), Amsterdam, Festival International du Documentaire, Marseille; One World Human Rights Film Festival, Prague; Kino Arsenal, Berlin; Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and DOK-Leipzig, Germany; Film South Asia, Kathmandu; Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania; the Asian Social Forum, Hyderabad; the World Social Forum, Mumbai; MIAAC, New York and the Queens Museum of Art, New York.

Vachani has taught courses on various topics related to film and documentary (theory and production) at the Mass Communication Research Centre in Delhi, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Amherst College in the USA.