When the Tehri dam, the world's fifth largest, was completed in Northern India, its waters covered the town that shares its namesake, the historic Tehri town in the state of Uttaranchal. The new dam has the capability to produce 2400 megawatts of electricity, and provide the surrounding area with over 240 million gallons of water. The dam is another piece in the puzzle in the growth—and growing up—of India.
Filmmaker Anirban Dutta of Delhi visited the town before it was buried beneath the waves to provide a glimpse of the now sunken ruins. Dutta's film Shadows of Tehri is an exploration that offers a look at what was lost forever in the path of progress.
Dutta's impressive resume ranges from stunning photo-essays, media presentations, and poignant documentaries. The social activist has covered issues important to people of India as their country suffers serious growing pains. His documentaries have covered a variety of social issues. One of his films, Muttram, chronicles the Tamil Nadu Women's Development Project. Together, a group of Indian women, in partnership with a network of women's self-help groups, obtained a loan from a bank to build a small soap business. Another group banded together to create a milk-producing cooperative, increasing each member's revenues from 15-20 rupees per week, to roughly 1,000 rupees per week.
Dutta's films highlight the growing social rift between the classes in India, brought on by the population explosion in recent years. His message is a powerful one, and his documentaries expound the struggles and successes of millions of Indians.
"The stabilization of population has been one of the serious challenges faced by India. Controlling numbers seemed a serious task, and promoting sterilization became a real strategy," states the narrator in Dutta's film Aaina.
Dutta will visit the Visual Arts Collective tonight for a 7 p.m. screening of Shadows of Tehri followed by a Q&A. Then on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m., Dutta will visit Boise State University for a special public lecture in which he will discuss his career in the field of media, and talk about his latest photography book, Shadows of the Mountain which follows the lives of Indian drugs users and those with HIV.
Admission to both events is FREE and open to the public (VAC is 21 and older only). VAC, 3638 Osage St., visualartscollective.com, 208-424-8297; Boise State, Student Union Building, New Ballroom A, FREE parking from 6-8 p.m. in the Liberal Arts parking lot.