Nari is the unsung story of the lives of Lakshmi Shankar and her daughter Viji, two extraordinary artists who helped bring Indian music to the West in the 1970s through their close collaborations with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison. In Sanskrit, “Nari” means both “woman” and “sacrifice.” As two female artists who grew up in a patriarchal society and tried to establish themselves in a male-dominated field, Lakshmi and Viji fought to overcome numerous challenges in both their artistic and personal lives as they were catapulted from conservative Indian culture into the stratosphere of American rock & roll. Now that they’ve passed away, Viji’s daughter Gingger Shankar has decided to commemorate their lives with a unique multimedia project.
Nari features a short film about Viji and Lakshmi followed by a multimedia performance featuring live vocals, Indian Percussion, and Gingger’s unique double violin set to an entrancing blend of hip-hop, high energy solos and electronica infused with Viji’s never-before-heard recordings rooted in the Hindustani vocal tradition. The music is synchronized to a video installation, blending film, archival footage, and never before seen family photos.
Conceptualized in early 2013 and followed by recordings and filming in India, UK, and US, Nari premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and had it's U.S. Premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.