Causes on celluloid for capital

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  • Published 27.09.10

Ranchi, Sept. 26: The capital is enjoying two offbeat days on its cultural calendar — the two-day Ranchi Film Utsav 2010, which kicked off today — playing host to cinema with a cause.

The ongoing fest at the Central Library of Ranchi University, organised by Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch in association with Solidarity For Peace, Akhra, Kritika Foundation and Hope, is screening thought-provoking fare, which has not found scope in standalone theatres or multiplexes of the city.

A five-minute music video, Gaon Chodab Naahi directed by K.P. Sasi, highlighted the contemporary plight of tribals whose lands were taken over by vested interests. With lyrics by Ranchi-based documentary filmmakers Meghnath and Biju Toppo of Akhra, a cultural group making films on Jharkhand’s indigenous tribes since 1995, the video struck a deep chord with the audience.

“Even today, tribals are fighting for their land that is denied to them, leading to forced migration for livelihood,” said film buff Rajan Kumar.

Another hard-hitting documentary elicited similar response. Loha Garam Hai, a 43-minute documentary directed jointly by filmmaker Meghnath and Biju Toppo, which won the Best Environmental Film Award from Indian Documentary Producers’ Association Mumbai this July, earned kudos from viewers.

“The film showed how India’s most polluting industry — sponge iron manufacture — displaces human settlements and pollutes environment and agriculture,” said third-year Ranchi University student Avinash Kumar, who attended the fest specially for this film.

A 45-minute film, Naata, directed by K.P. Jaishankar and Anjali Montero also evoked positive response. Depicting communal harmony in Mumbai’s Dharavi, the world’s largest slum, after the 1992 communal riots in the megapolis, the film was a nuanced take on humanity.

“All these films highlight a social message. We need promotion and marketing, and this fest gives us a platform. I appeal to theatre owners to screen and promote our movies,” said Satyaprakash, one of the organisers.