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Documentary filmmaker from India to speak March 24 at Iowa State

March 11, 2015

Praveen Singh Rathore
A male bhopa, right, and female bhopi are traditional narrators of folk deities in rural Rajasthan, India. They perform in front of a painted narrative scroll known as the Pabuji parh, which depicts the life story of Pabuji, a local god.
The bhopa sings and plays the ravanhattha, a traditional stringed instrument, while the bhopi sings and holds a lighted candlewick, illuminating the Pabuji parh.


AMES, Iowa — Documentary filmmaker Praveen Singh Rathore, director of the organization Music of Rajasthan, will speak at Iowa State University Tuesday, March 24.

Rathore will present "The Last Bhopa: The Effects of Modernization on India's Folk Culture" at 8 p.m. in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design. The lecture is free and open to the public.

During the presentation, Rathore will screen his 15-minute award-winning film "The Last Bhopa" and discuss how development in India has affected the lives of traditional musicians and artisans, including Bhopas, semi-nomadic priest singers of the folk deities of Rajasthan, a state in northwestern India.

Rathore produces short documentary films to bring attention to social issues, particularly poverty and child welfare. His work has been recognized with the Special Conservation Award at the 4th International Folk Music Film Festival, Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2014; Best Amateur Film at the 2nd International Heritage Film Festival, Ahmedabad, India, in 2013; and Special Jury Award at the 3rd International Chinh Kids Film Festival, New Delhi, in 2009.

Rathore also works to preserve and promote the traditional folk music and art of rural Rajasthan. He has coordinated cultural programming for international festivals and performances in the vicinity of Jodhpur, India, including the Rajasthan International Folk Festival.

Rathore received training in audiovisual archiving at the American Resource Center for Ethnomusicology in Gurgaon, India.

Rathore's visit is cosponsored by SANKALP, College of Design Art Club (CODAC), Department of Anthropology, Department of Art and Visual Culture, College of Design Lectures and Exhibitions Committee, Multicultural Student Affairs and Committee on Lectures (funded by the Government of the Student Body).

Gauri Ramasubramanian, SANKALP president, (515) 294-6324,
Cindy Gould, Art and Visual Culture, (515) 294-6297,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,