News Archive

News Story


Award-winning Indian film to make Chicago debut at Saint Xavier University

Filmmaker, journalist Sashi Kumar to be on campus for screening

CHICAGO (April 25, 2005) -- One of India's leading journalists, Sashi Kumar, will screen his debut feature film, the award-winning “Kaya Taran” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, in the Butler Reception Room in the Warde Academic Center on Saint Xavier University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. This showing will mark the Chicago premiere of his film and the only screening in Illinois. A question-and-answer period with Kumar will follow the screening, which is sponsored by the university’s Department of Student Media. He also will be signing limited-edition posters for the film.

The film straddles two traumatic events in recent Indian history — the 1984 anti-Sikh carnage following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 — but it does not frontally engage with either. The film deals with the dilemma of identity in a multicultural society that, every so often, turns volatile. Many aspects of the highly charged contemporary discourse find resonances in the film: the religious divide, the tyranny of the majority, the issue of religious conversions and the alienation of tribals from their hereditary land. Through all this, the overriding theme is faith in humaneness and the humaneness of faith.

The film is about a journalist who returns to the convent where he had taken refuge with his mother during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. A story on forced conversions leads him to Meerut. There he meets the same sister who had sheltered him and his 
mother during the riots in which his father and brother died. Without revealing his identity, he tries to find out the impact that the incident had left on the sister. The journey is also an inner one for the journalist as he tries to reconcile himself to his violence-scarred past.

Kumar is an acclaimed broadcast journalist from India. In the late 1970s, he was among the first newscasters in English on Doordarshan, India’s national TV network, and, over the next decade, became a familiar face in Indian households as news and current affairs anchor, film critic and producer and director of topical features on television. In the early ’90s, he launched Asianet, India’s first satellite TV channel in the regional language, and Asianet Satcom, a cable company in Kerala that took up statewide cabling using the electricity poles. Both were pioneering steps in the evolution of independent satellite TV and cable in India.

Kumar is chairman of the Media Development Foundation, a non-profit public trust dedicated to excellence in journalism education and best practices in the profession. Kumar is also a founder and chairman of the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, India.
Tickets are free and are available by calling (773) 298-3375. 

There will be free parking and free Indian food at this event. For more information, please contact Rob Quicke at quicke@sxu.edu. More information about the film can be found at www.kayataran.com.

# # #