RADHE RADHE: RITES OF HOLI
Directed by Prashant Bhargava
This May saw the passing of the talented director and motion designer Prashant Bhargava, whose 2011 film Patang wowed audiences around the world, and who inhabited his directorial work and the designs he did for others with a spirit uniquely his own. Vivid, soulful, and street, Prashant’s imprint was unmistakable and will never be forgotten.
As he did with collaborators everywhere, Prashant left an indelible mark on Pacific Arts Movement and the San Diego Asian Film Festival. In 2004, his tantalizing 23-minute Sangam, about two Indian immigrants who meet on the New York City subway, won SDAFF’s best narrative short award. In 2012, he joined the Pac-Arts audience for a Skype Q&A following a screening of Patang at the SDAFF Spring Showcase. Later that year, he served as a juror for the San Diego Asian Film Festival’s main competition.
This April, a mere month before he passed away from cardiac arrest, Prashant reached out to Pac-Arts again to give us a peek at RADHE RADHE: RITES OF HOLI, his collaboration with jazz luminary Vijay Iyer that they had been working on for years. It’s a pulsating, dissonant, and ecstatic work, a poetic document of Holi in the Indian city of Mathura, where worshippers celebrate the goddess Radhe in a colorful display of dance and devotion. Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, RADHE RADHE bursts through with internal energy, spinning passionately, even violently, like a mosh pit of fervor, all to the rapturous music of Vijay Iyer.
RADHE RADHE captures the free-wheeling, but always socially-grounded, spirit that Prashant embodied so well. It’s a clash of India and the west that doesn’t just juxtapose ironically, but that forges new lines of feeling for artists and Indian America. We dedicate this free screening of RADHE RADHE to a man who has always given us bold ways to feel through his films, stories, and passion for life. –Brian Hu