Young Turk to screen migration menace - Crowd funding helps 29-yr-old director to can travails of Biharis settled outside state

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By AMIT BHELARI
  • Published 27.08.12
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Patna, Aug. 26: A 29-year-old filmmaker from the state has proved that it takes will rather than wealth to give art a dimension.

Pawan K. Shrivastava, a resident of Chhapra in Saran district, will narrate the state’s undying story of labour and migration in his film Naya Pata (The New Address) through crowd funding. The film would hit the screens this November.

Director Onir recently made I Am with the help of crowd funding that went on to bag two National Awards. Under crowd funding, the money for the film is raised through the social media by reaching out to near and dear ones of the cast and crew working on the film.

People from nine states have rendered free service and around 40 people, working in different sectors, mainly information technology, have extended their generosity to the feature film. “It took me more than a year to write the script. I knew that no producer would show interest in the film,” said Shrivastava.

“I wanted to make the film in my own way and also wanted to contribute something to my state being a Bihari. The European concept of crowd funding came to my mind and I took the help of social networking sites and contacted all the people I knew. Most of them were from Bihar,” the computer science student added.

The 93-minute bilingual Hindi-Bhojpuri film has artistes from Patna as well.

“First, I needed people who could help me in the shoot and give me technical support. People from Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar spent 60 days in the state during the film’s shoot. The entire cast is from Patna and they are working without any remuneration,” the director said, adding that the film had been shot mainly in Rohtas and Saran districts.

“People settled in Australia, Finland, Delhi, Mumbai and the US helped me a lot in generating funds. Around 40 people have made monetary contributions. I had also sent messages to Onir while filming. He suggested me to contact all my sources and it really worked to gather money. Through crowd funding, we collected Rs 8 lakh. That was our budget for the film. While working on the script, I had met Saket Saurabh (27) from Supaul. He later worked as the cinematographer,” the filmmaker added.

When The Telegraph contacted Avinash Singh, a resident of Saran who is working in Finland and had contributed his bit to the film, he was all praise for the upcoming movie. “It is a proud moment for us to help such people who want to do something for the state. It is a big thing that Shrivastava has taken such an initiative. I was impressed with the script and decided to help him financially within a week after he read it out to me,” said Singh.

When asked about directing a film that hardly has a commercial touch, Shrivastava said: “There are people who want to watch serious films. If there are listeners of Sonu Niigaam, there are fans of Pandit Jasraj too. We will send Naya Pata to film festivals. We will also arrange private screenings at Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Private screening in Muzaffarpur, Siwan, Saran, Rohtas, Darbhanga and Patna are also on the cards.”

Shifting focus to the storyline, Shrivastava said: “The film is based between 1985 and 1990, when the sugar industry closed down in Bihar and thousands migrated to different states in search of jobs. After spending almost 25 years, those who had left are neither Biharis nor residents of the state where they have settled down. This way, they have lost their identity. The story highlights the pain and struggle of one man. The protagonist then comes back to contemporary Bihar, which is 2010, to regain his identity.”

Abhishek Sharma (46), a theatre artiste from Patna, who has played the lead role in the film said: “Naya Pata will send a strong message to the audience. I enjoyed every shot of the film, which was directed with passion and enthusiasm. It was a good experience working with a young director.”

No artiste in the film has taken a single penny for their work. The entire fund was spent on travelling and shooting. “None of the artistes and crew members was worried about luxury during the shoot. All they wanted was to complete the film without compromising with the quality. In fact, for one scene, the shoot continued for 14 days and no one complained,” said Saurabh, the cinematographer.