Wed | Oct 17, 2018

'Dreadlocks Story' goes to the United Kingdom for Black History Month

Published:Wednesday | October 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMAmitabh Sharma
Still from Dreadlocks Story - sadhu with dreadlocks
Photos courtesy of Linda Ainouche Still from Dreadlocks Story - a devotee in dreadlocks prays at a Hindu temple.

Dreadlocks Story, the documentary which explores Indian influence on Rastafari culture, is being showcased in the United Kingdom (UK) as a part of Black History Month.

The documentary, which is intertwined with a common thread of a belief systems that leaps across varied cultures and belief systems, was shot in four countries - India, Jamaica, France, and the United States, released in four languages - Hindi, Jamaican Patois, French, and English, with four local crews.

"It's a UK Dreadlocks Story screenings and discussions tour for Black History Month," informed Linda Ainouche, writer, producer and director of the documentary.

October is Black History Month in the UK. this year, it celebrates the 30th anniversary.

Dreadlocks Story explores the bonds of survival of African and Indian culture in Jamaica in view of upfront anti-slavery and anti-imperialist struggles.

"Due to British colonists, Indians and African descendants have met in the plantations and created something absolutely unique and indispensable to express what they had been oppressed by," said Ainouche. "Obviously, without the British, Indians wouldn't have been in Jamaica from 1845 as indentured labourers," she added.

Dreadlocks Story delves into a chapter in history which, according to Ainouche, has barely been told and without a doubt never been seen in a visual manner.

"It is a story equally based on tragedy and hope," she said, "on the inflicted mistreatment of human beings towards other human beings, and on the birth of a social and cultural movement built on the idea to restore people's confidence led by a single man, Leonard Percival Howell."

The documentary weaves the journey of a value system, which, in essence, was uprooted from India and brought to the Caribbean by the British, to feed their perennial demand to harvest sugarcane.

"The role played by Indians in Jamaica, importantly reminds that abducted people in the Caribbean have not come only from Africa," Ainouche said.

Dreadlocks Story gives an insight into the mysticism of Hinduism and how its influences are interlocked into the African cultures in the Caribbean. It is a confluence of the distinctly and geographically separated practices, yet unified by a common thread.

"(The documentary) links Hinduism and Rastafari cultures, which are powerful symbols of perseverance and persistence against all forms of enchainment and stand out for an idiosyncratic individuality of oneness," said Ainouche, adding that the documentary seeks to engage the audiences in a dialogue, looking beyond idiosyncrasies and the obvious, and analyse the melting pot of influences that the Caribbean is.

"All in all," Ainouche said, "I must say that making Dreadlocks Story was a collaborative endeavour that incorporated relational, reflexivity, and emotion."

Dreadlocks Story runs from October 9 to 13, in UK cinemas.