In 2003, we set out on a series of journeys in search of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir into spaces touched by his music and poetry. We met a diverse array of people – an urban folklorist, a street fruit seller, a social activist, a Dalit folk singer, a Zen Buddhist scholar, a neo-fascist cleric of a Kabir sect, a Muslim qawwal – each encounter offering a moment of insight into his poetry and its contemporary meanings. We glimpsed not one but many Kabirs, tantalizingly present in seemingly opposing spaces – Hindu and Muslim, secular and sacred, folk and classical, des (home land) and pardes (foreign lands).
Kabir walked with us into that unstable dividing line between all these dualities, and each journey became a film. Sometimes he beckoned, sometimes he baffled, but always he pushed us to self-interrogate, to question the boundaries of our identity, nation, ideology, caste and religion, making these journeys deeply personal, even as they were political, unrelentingly inward even as they ventured outward.
The 4 films are interwoven in significant ways, but each can be viewed independently.