Private Project

In Search of Bidesia

In Search of Bidesia is a musical documentary on Bhojpuri folk music that connects the history of indentured labour migration from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to the last living musicians in these states, who are now struggling to ensure these songs of love and longing do not slip into oblivion.

  • Simit Bhagat
  • Simit Bhagat
  • Dhirendra Kumar
  • Sushant Murkar
    Sound Design
  • Joel Machado
    Project Advisor
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 5 minutes 7 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Royal Anthropological Film Festival 2021
    United Kingdom
    April 19, 2021
    UK Premiere
    Best Ethnomusicology Award
Director Biography - Simit Bhagat

Simit Bhagat is Mumbai-based screenwriter, director and social
development practitioner. His first short documentary film ‘My Disappearing Farms’ was selected at 9th CMS Vatavaran Environment and Wildlife International Film Festival and Forum 2017, New Delhi. In early 2019, Simit left his full-time job with an international NGO to pursue filmmaking. In Search of Bidesia is his first feature length film.

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Director Statement

Today, Bhojpuri music - with its tacky filmy songs and double meaning
lyrics - has become synonymous with vulgarity and sleazy content. 
In contrast, Bhojpuri speaking region, is extremely rich in various forms of
artistic cultural expressions including folk songs. This rich folklore has been
orally passed on amongst ordinary people for many generations now. 
A common theme of this folklore has been migration and the emotional loss
caused to the families. But these folk songs that once entertained and
educated the masses, are being forgotten today. 
In Search of Bidesia is a film that has emerged out of my personal solo bike
journey across 1,200 kilometres through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 2017
to record these cultural expressions. 
Scripted on the go, the film explores how actual events in history and
personal experiences find artistic expressions in various art forms including
Through my journey, I am trying to tell the story of this dying culture and the
forms of artistic expressions that migration from the Bhojpuri region gave
rise to.