Bhubaneswar: Documentary ‘Kotpad Weaving: The Story of a Race Against Time’ by filmmaker Biswanath Rath is now streaming on Amazon Prime US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other English-speaking territories.
It is the first documentary from Odisha to be screened on a major global OTT platform.
Talking about the OTT premiere, Biswanath said, “This Amazon Prime premiere is surely one of the biggest milestones in the journey of our acclaimed documentary. We are sure, this will mark a new chapter in the documentary film scene in Odisha. This premiere further strengthens our belief in Odisha’s rich tribal culture, tradition, and heritage which have got so many unique stories for the global audience. The film has also been shown to Film/Textile/Fashion/Anthropology students in many National/International Institutes as part of their academic curriculum.” He affirmed that it will soon be available on Amazon Prime India as well.
Kotpad handloom, a traditional red and brown dyed handloom fabric weave crafted by the Mrigan Community from a sleepy little town of Kotpad (located to the South of Odisha) holds a distinct place in the urban wardrobe today. This documentary captures the craft of this ageless tribal textile tradition and tries to address the challenge of its survival against the test time.
Although the handloom has not received as much recognition as other Indian handlooms, it has its own set of uniqueness which has grabbed global attention. Kotpad fabric uses natural dyeing and the colours are derived from organic materials like the root of Indian Madder Tree (called ‘Aal’), cow dung, wood ash, castor oil something which is unheard of even in Global Textile/Fashion Industry. Antique pit looms are used to produce awe-inspiring patterns in fabrics which are adorned with nature-inspired tribal motifs.
Moreover, the filmmaker believes that amid the increasing price and scarcity of raw materials, besides rising popularity of synthetic fabrics and the alarmingly declining number of Kotpad weavers, the day of reckoning is not far away. “I got to know about Kotpad handloom only in October 2016. For me, it was an inspiring subject and I felt the urge to create awareness about this near-extinct hereditary tradition. This documentary is my humble attempt at identifying the issues and possible solutions for reviving this timeless craft of India,” said Biswanath.
Prior to OTT premiere, the documentary ‘Kotpad Weaving’ has received three awards and was in the ‘official selection’ in 29 International Film Festivals. It was also telecast on DD National on March 24, 2018.
‘Khyanikaa: The Lost Idea’, an Odia film, was recently released on Amazon Prime Video. However, the streaming service removed the film from its platform in India two days later on June 8, stating that they offer Indian movies under only nine language categories — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Kannada, Malayalam and Gujarati. This ruffled a few feathers in Odisha and #BringBack Khyanikaa started trending on social media platforms.
A biopic on social activist and Padma awardee Tulasi Munda titled ‘Tulasi Apa’, is the other film from Odisha to have featured on Amazon Prime World Wide.
However, it continues to stream in overseas territories.