CinéMasala: 10th anniversary

Going with the Flow of Indian Waters

We invite you to our program “India through its waters” celebrating the 10th anniversary of CinéMasala. Sweet and salt, divine and polluted, life-giving and deadly, from pristine streams and rivers to vast oceans. Waters are manifold. CinéMasala explores this diversity through movies and documentaries from all corners of the South Asian subcontinent.

Screenings, lectures by experts and directors and several other cultural activities will take place in the Pôle Sud and in the banquet hall of Casino de Montbenon (Lausanne) between 10 and 12 November 2022.


Thursday, 10 November (7 PM)

Pôle Sud, Jean-Jacques Mercier 3

No Water, No Village

A documentary by Munmun Dhalaria (India, 2022). Age limit: 8Y, recommended age: 14Y.
Original language with French subtitles. 30 minutes.

Climate change causes desiccation in the Himalayan regions of Spiti and Zanskar. Snowfall and rain are scarce, and glaciers are receding. Traditional irrigation methods prove to be insufficient, and the shortage of water takes its toll on the local agriculture.  Fields are left fallow. The climate exodus has begun. However, villagers are resourceful and come up with a solution to their problem.

Holy (Un)Holy River

A documentary by Jake Northon and Pete McBride (US, 2016). Age limit: 12Y, recommended age: 14Y.  Original language with French subtitles. 69 minutes

A group of scientists decides to measure the purity of Ganges from its Himalayan source to its estuary in the Bay of Bengal. Their camera gazes at its emblematic places and paints a paradoxical portrait of India’s most sacred river with grandiose strokes. Finally, the enigma remains: why is this water into which tons of rubbish and toxic products are poured not more polluted?

Friday, 11 November (8 PM)
Pôle sud, Jean-Jacques Mercier 3
Sagarputra, Offspring of the Sea

A documentary by Pooja Das Sarkar (India, 2021) Age limit: 10Y, recommended age: 14Y.
Original language with French subtitles. 21 minutes

The director follows a group of fishermen from the community of Koli who live and work in the Bay of Thane to the east of Bombay/Mumbai peninsula. She shows the fishermen’s commitment to continue their ancestral fishing methods despite the urbanization and industrialization which threaten to destroy the fragile eco-system of the mangroves.

My Name is Salt

A documentary by Farida Pacha (India, 2013) Age limit: 10Y, recommended age: 14Y.
Original language with French subtitles. 92 minutes

The immense salt marshes of Rann of Kutch (Gujarat, western India) dry up at the end of the rainy season. Its deserted lands are then populated by a seasonal community of salt farmers. Farida Pacha’s documentary is a poetic rumination on their harsh and contemplative lifestyle under the merciless Sun of the Thar desert.

Saturday, 12 November (5 PM)
Casino de Montbenon (Banquette Hall)

Show (to be defined)
6:30PM Indian meal prepared by Nandanam Restaurant (additional charge)
8 PM

The Story of Kaveri

A short movie by Ayappa (India, 2021) Age limit: 10Y, recommended age: 14Y.
Original language with French subtitles. 3 minutes

A dreamlike and fleeting portrayal of the beautiful river goddess Kaveri, one of the major rivers of southern India, whose delicate balance is in jeopardy.

Boroxun, Songs for Rain

A movie by Krrishna Kt Borah (India, 2021) Age limit: 10Y, recommended age: 14Y.
Original language with French subtitles. 87 minutes

In the absence of rain in rural Assam, northeast India, desperate villagers turn to rituals. However, their “frog weddings” do not produce the desired effect. They resort to an even stranger method, and the two “innocents” of the community will pay the price for it. Will their budding love survive these trials?

Free entry, pay what you wish.

The venues will open one hour before the start of screenings. Bar and snacks in Pôle Sud. 

CIEL, 2022:



The CinéMasala film festival was founded in 2013. It brings together researchers from the University of Lausanne working on the history, religions, and languages of South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, etc.) who wish to open their research field to a wider public.

Cinema, and its Indian version thanks to Bollywood, is globally accessible and makes the best medium to reach out to as many people as possible.  The festival – three evenings in November – has two aims. It makes this region known to the general public, and aspires to establish a dialogue between the city and research scholars. To tailor this festival to a varied audience, we have decided to make it nomadic: the films are screened on the university campus and in the center of Lausanne.

The selected movies and documentaries, made by authors from Asia and elsewhere, address both “traditional” subjects and more contemporary and sometimes unconventional themes. As South Asia covers a baffling variety of languages and cultures, each film brings a unique and authentic look at a region of the world still little known yet destined to occupy a central place in the world of tomorrow. From year to year, South Asia is approached according to original and varied themes and angles. The festival’s mission is to encapsulate the rapid evolution of this world through a selection of recent films. Following the screening, some films are commented on by researchers specializing in the subject, or by the directors themselves, who answer questions from the public.

The festival has been free from the very beginning as has access to films online this year. Our loyal partners support us for this. However, the survival of the festival and its free admission also depend on the support of the public. Want to contribute to this support? Do not hesitate to donate via Twint, or by paying the money to the following account:

La Route du Tchaï

CCP: 14-564333-5
IBAN : CH26 0900 0000 1456 4333 5 
Thank you for your help! 

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Organizing Committee Members (2022):

  • Philippe Bornet
  • Danielle Feller
  • Nicola Pozza
  • Dimitri Schertenleib
  • Keerthigan Sivakumar
  • Noémie Verdon
  • Kristof Szitar

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