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Don't Fence Me In
A film by Nandini Sikand
1998, 55 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W00662
Against the broader backdrop of modern India's political and social history, this lyrical documentary tells the story of the life of Krishna Sikand, the filmmaker's mother, from childhood to maturity. A rich mosaic of memory and impressions, DON'T FENCE ME IN captures the fragmented way in which we journey back through time. Evoking Krishna's earliest years in pre-independence Bombay as the daughter of a well-to-do Bengali family, the film also traces her post-colonial experiences--from marriage to a Punjabi army officer in the face of fierce family opposition, through the raising of two daughters and successful careers as an academic, small business entrepreneur, media consultant, journalist, and poet. Black-and-white photos of Krishna as a child and young woman are juxtaposed with clips from home movies shot by the filmmaker's father nearly thirty years ago, and recent location footage. Krishna's personal narrative is highlighted by her wonderful letters to her daughter and the poems that serve as milestones in her life.


  • Philafilm/Philadelphia International Film Festival, Best Super 8mm
  • Chingari Film Festival, University of Wisconsin

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    "'Don't Fence Me In' is a rich and beautiful film and an exquisite and loving tribute of a daughter to her mother."
    Marion Lear Swaybill
    TV Producer

    " A cinematic tapestry that is part lyrical, part impressionistic, wholly cinematic."
    Riyad Wadia
    Indian Express

    "The film captures the triumphs, tragedies and the choices of an individual set against a larger social and political landscape."
    Lavina Melwani
    India Today International

    "A lyrical tribute by the filmmaker to her poet mother. Weaves together scenes shot on location, super-8 movies made 30 years ago, black and white photographs, and splendidly preserved letter to evoke the story of mother Krishna, her choices and personal battles."
    Jyotirmoy Datta
    India in New York

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