Revisiting “Sita Sings the Blues”
by V. Buritsch-Tompkins
“Sita Sings the Blues” is a delightful way to pass a few hours, but the real delight is knowing why it exists, and why it’s so openly available to everyone. The movie begins by plunging you into a world of squeaky gramophones and warm soulful music mixed with one of the major plot threads of the Ramayana. It is a labor of love, and twin stories of love lost. (It also fits right in with the call to bring the music of the 1920’s into the roaring 2020’s.)
It is amazing. It is brilliant. It was created by one person. In the wake of a broken marriage, Nina created a masterpiece when she was reading the Ramayana herself and found parallels between herself and Sita – and thus, “Sita Sings the Blues” was born.
It is legitimately free: While once copyrighted with Creative Commons, the creator found herself unable to protect her work, and eventually released it into the world under a CC-0 Public License: Common Domain.
There’s a longer controversy around it which can be found on the main page, but Nina Paley, the creator, has tried to make it easy to share. Literally, she has done everything to support sharing her work openly as possible:
- There is a Wiki
- There is a Breakdown of Song Rights
- There is a Press Kit to assist with sharing her amazing work
- She has a full transcript to borrow and quote from the Shadow Puppets’ quibbling
The fact of the matter is, Nina lost money making the fantastic feature-length film – an article quoted it as around $20,000, and she couldn’t both protect it and share it at the same time. So she chose to share it openly.
But all of that means nothing if people who watch it don’t share it when a piece of work that has been fully released for sharing is being shared, so I’m taking the time to share it again. Take a break, pop some popcorn, and enjoy. And share.
She also has the option to download it here.
Nina does have a store with Sita merch, and you should absolutely visit it here:
And Share. And Share. And Share.