On A Higher Note

Slovakian director Miroslav Drobny on his documentary about rapper Rtymus’s journey from the fringes to becoming a famous musician

Written by Ekshu Sharma | Published:June 9, 2016 12:32 am
Miroslav Drobny,Miroslav Drobny documentary, Miroslav Drobny Rtymus, Rtymus documentary Director Miroslav Drobny (above); Rytmus in India, in a still from the film

Rtymus stands at the banks of Ganges with folded hands. After 33 years of his life, he finally comes to a place he knows little about except that this is where his roots are. He walks around Haridwar where the “lowest caste” live, and watches a group of boys creating music with their mouth and hands. He learns that his ancestors came from India, and the music he hears is what finally seals his search.

Rytmus — A Dream From The Block by Slovakian director Miroslav Drobny is story of Patrik Vrbovsky aka Rytmus. Screened last week at the 21st European Union Film Festival in the Embassy of the Slovakia Republic, Delhi, it tells his story from being a Roma (gypsy) in a small neighbourhood to becoming a well-known musician, known for his candid opinions on racism. His life is documented from 2007 to 2014 by following people closest to him. Born to a white mother and a gypsy father, who abandoned them, his music has echoes of marginalisation and loss of identity.

“People were writing about his music, his fame, but it was his life that was most interesting to me. I wanted to go beyond his music,” says the debutant filmmaker. The movie is about racism and xenophobia but it also carries personal themes of broken families. “In my country, more than 50 per cent people come from broken families,” says Drobny. Meanwhile the title itself reflects Slovakia’s urban reality. “The poorest live in extremely small homes called the blocks. Rytmus came from such a block. He lived there for 33 years but today he is a celebrity,” says Drobny, whose next is on cyber-crime.

Rytmus — A Dream From The Block is one of the most watched movies in Slovakia and Czech Republic. It is screened in juvenile prisons or homes for special children. Often, teenagers ask them questions related to suicide and racial attacks. “They were all in tough places like Rytmus,” says Drobny. In the end of the film, as he stands on Indian soil, one can see the vast difference between where he comes from and where his roots lay; there is a sense of growing up.

The festival closes in Delhi on June 19, and travels to 10 cities
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