Amar Kanwar is a filmmaker whose works are complex contemporary narratives that connect intimate personal spheres to larger social and political processes. Merging art, documentation and activism, Kanwar’s films are political and poetic, lyrical, rhythmic, complexly edited or captured in lengthy sequence shots, ultimately restoring the intricacy of a story.
Personal experience carries an immense weight in Kanwar’s films. During the 1947 partition of India, both his parents were forced to flee Punjab, a region divided between India and Pakistan. In 1984 Kanwar was a history student at Delhi University when the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi occurred, leading to a wave of violence where thousands of people were killed. A few months later there was a gas explosion in a Bhopal factory which killed over 2000 people. These horrific and poignant events that Kanwar and his family experienced have since become sources of reflection throughout his oeuvre – a form of commitment to civic causes through expression.