Udaipur Film Festival: Celebrating Dissent becomes the rallying point of protest activists
Udaipur. The fifth Udaipur Film Festival organized on 25th, 26th and 27th November , 2017 by Udaipur Film Society and The Group, Jan Sanskriti Manch became the rallying point of cultural activists from all over the country.
The fifth Udaipur Film Festival organized on 25th, 26th and 27th November , 2017 by Udaipur Film Society and The Group, Jan Sanskriti Manch became the rallying point of cultural activists from all over the country. Like the previous four festivals the central tone of the function was the general unrest among the masses not with just the political totalitarian regime of the right wing ruling party but also the feudal, patriarchic and anti working class attitude of the elite of this country. Through various documentaries , feature films , performances like Daastan goi and above all the discussions with directors, actors and performers the hope in the Indian masses was reasserted and it was reaffirmed that art and literature , cinema and theatre, poetry and music had the ability not just to entertain the audience but to raise some of the very pertinent questions of our times in a very pleasant satisfying aesthetic form.
The fifth Udaipur Film Festival was convened by Megha Chaudhary and Rinku Parihar. But the patronage they received from Himanshu Pandya and Pragnya Joshi enabled them to weave the entire tapestry in beautiful colours and patterns. The key speaker of the inaugural session film director Rahul Rai said that the kind of nationalism that developed in India to counter European Nationalism grew into a blind folded glorification of the past and a tendency to shy away from the real problems of the present. This has led to a number of problems in understanding the present. He talked of the need to fight against the culture of hatred and violence being perpetrated by ruling political parties and other organizations associated with them. He described the movement ” Not in My Name” as a campaign against hatred and violence and appealed people to join hands with it. Presiding over the inaugural function Himanshu Kumar, famous activist from Delhi said that cultural intervention is necessary to break the silence caused by the regime of fear. Two films “The Other Side” and “Two Plus Two” were screened in the inaugural session which showcased the threats of the mob hysteria and dictatorship. In the afternoon a documentary on the unrest in various universities of the country , The film was made by Yusuf Syed. He responded to the questions of the audience. In the evening Prateek Sinha talked on skype about altnews and the decoding of fake news. In the evening a documentary ” Our Gouri” was screened . It is about the journalist Gouri Lankesh and her unorthodox views which became the cause of her most brutal and heinous murder by the fundamentalist forces.
The second day began with the screening of “Jaane Bhi Do Yaron” , a Hindi Feature Film by Kundan Shah followed by a film titled “Turup” by Ektara Collective and was followed by a discussion with the team members who made this film. In the post lunch session a documentary by Rahul Rai called ” Four Friends” or Jahan Chaar Yaar Mil Jayen was screened. Through interviews of four young boys living in Jahangirpuri rehabilitation colony the director unearthed some very significant questions related with their understanding of gender and sex, work, exploitation, pangs of displacement and the psychological inhibitions of the youth of this country. The best part of the second day was the presentation of Daastaane Sedition presented by Rana Pratap Singh and Rajesh Kumar. The atmosphere created through stagecraft, costumes and above all their rendering in flawless Urdu – Hindi made the audience spell bound and forced them to rise in standing ovation. A perfect allegorical tale had plenty of satirical and ironical jibes at the contemporary incongruities and hypocrisy of the present ruling party. “Anar Kali of Ara” a film by Avinash Das was a perfect blend of purposeful and popular cinema. The protagonist Anarkali represented the whole class of women artists whose performances on stage become a cause of their personal humiliation at the hands of the bullies of the ruling class. But the way she takes the revenge and exposes the Vice Chancellor is very satisfying and is a light of hope for all those who are made to suffer like this every day.
The third day of the festival began with the film “Offside” by Zafar Panahi , Iran where girls in Iran are shown breaking the taboos through a game of Hockey. This was followed by a documentary on the rotten state of medical facilities in Gorakhpur presented by Manoj Singh. The highlight of the day was ” Kakkoos” . a Tamil documentary on the struggle and suffering of the scavengers who lead a sub human life despite the democracy and the so called human rights bodies. ” Dhananjay” was the last film screened in the festival.
The three – day festival became another memorable event in the cultural life of Udaipur. It was a refreshing breeze amidst the smog of the feudal muscle flinching in the name of false glory of the past and the blind folded support of the BJP governments and their fraternal organizations gave to the miscreants who vandalized the theatres and threatened the actors, actresses, even slapped the director of a film. The cinema of resistance is the right kind of reply to such fringe elements.
Contributed by: Dr H.S.Chandaliya