“We Don’t See Ourselves,” Khabar Lahariya on Oscar Nominated Film

By Sonal Nain, 23 Mar 2022

The women-led media organization Khabar Lahariya claims that the makers of the Oscar-nominated documentary, ‘Writing with Fire‘ misrepresented their organization as having a “particular and consuming focus of reporting on one party,” distorting the Khabar Lahariya’s entire vision. 

Khabar Lahariya editor Kavita Bundelkhandi said to Mojo Story that the documentary is incomplete because it is not an accurate reflection of their 20-year journey, “We don’t recognize ourselves in the film. When we saw it for the first time, we informed them it wasn’t our complete 20-year journey.”

She explained that while the film focuses on one party, they have reported on many parties in Uttar Pradesh over the last five years, “They have shown us to be politically biased. Our work is not just restricted to political reporting but we also spotlight other social issues.” 

She also criticized the film’s portrayal of rape coverage, asserting that they have always stood up for victims, “we have never revealed the victims’ names as it is a very sensitive issue, in fact, we have a good connection with them.”

Kavita described the film as a half-told tale, saying that their footage is merged with the film’s footage and they are portrayed as becharis, “We don’t just belong to Dalit communities, but we have mixed groups of women working in our organization, including OBC and other marginalised communities.” 

The filmmaker stated that Meera Devi, co-founder of Khabar Lahariya, had previously expressed joy for the film, but Meera told Mojo that she did not have time to review or process the film, “We had asked to see the film many times before actually getting the chance.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Khabar Lahariya. Meera expressed that they have put in a lot of effort over the years to get to this point, and have done so by overcoming millions of obstacles, challenges and trolling, “It is extremely sad that we are now confronted with this problem.”

Watch the full conversation below.