A detailed report of 11th Gorakhpur Film Festival [1 Attachment]
We love and that is why we protest- Laltoo
Not geographical sovereignty, but the overall prosperity of every human being is patriotism- Laltoo
Against the return to dark ages, For the freedom of expression and democracy
In the memory of Comrade Rohith Vemula- 11th Gorakhpur Film Festival
Published, 14 May, 2016
On behalf of the Gorakhpur Film Society and Jan Sanskriti Manch, the two-day film festival was started today in Gokul Guest House, Civil Lines. Organized with active support of common audience and without any support from the corporate or the big capital, this film festival has not only established its own dynamic tradition in the last eleven years but has also provided an inspiration to the entire country vis-à-vis film screenings.
The inaugural session started with youth singer Aamir singing the song ‘sedition song’ in which he was joined by the audience seated in the hall.
Speaking in the inaugural ceremony of the film festival, Com. Laltoo, poet-thinker and the chief guest for the ceremony said that the fact that in these dark times we were unitedly fighting, coming together, was indeed a meaningful । The president of the organizing committee of the film festival, senior story writer Madanmohan said that these are dangerous times. In comparison to any of the time periods post freedom, our democracy is in danger today. At such a juncture, we will have to unite and take forward the struggle against return to dark ages and for the defence of freedom of expression and democracy. The director of ‘Factory’, Rahul Roy, director of ‘Referendum’, Tarun Mishra and the National Convener of Cinema of Resistance, Sanjay Joshi were also present on the dais. All the guests released the film festival souvenir. This session was moderated by the festival convener, Chandra Bhushan Ankur. Towards the end of the session, senior journalist Ashok Chowdhary read out a resolution strongly condemning the recent murders of journalists Rajdev Ranjan and Akhilesh Pratap Singh. Rajdev Ranjan was a sharp journalist with Bihar edition of Hindustan Times and was murdered in Siwan, while Akhilesh Pratap was a video editor with Taza News Channel in Jharkhand. Terming these murders as challenges before democracy, Ashok Chowdhary added that while on one hand these incidents fill us with sadness, they also inspire us to fight against this unjust system. At the end of the session, all the people present in the hall observed a one-minute silence as a mark of tribute towards the deceased journalists.
The next session of the festival included a music video presentation. Sambhaji Bhagat, a famous folksinger from Maharashtra, expressing solidarity with the students of FTII had sung a song- ‘Yeh Hitler Ke Saathi’ (These friends of Hitler). Along with this song, the song ‘Chal Chaliye’ (Let’s go) by a group from Delhi called ‘Majma’ was also shown. This song remembers Kabir and other poets who stood for love these times of intolerance. In remembrance of Comrade Rohith Vemula, a song written and recorded by ‘Hirawal’- Patna, was presented next. This beautifully composed song remembers Rohith Vemula and resolves to strengthen the struggle against injustice.
Movie ‘Court’, directed by Chaitanya Tamhane has as its hero, a Dalit folksinger from Maharashtra. There is a case against him in the court that a sanitation worker who lost his life due to entering into a drainage, had been provoked by him to commit suicide. This subject of this movie are the legal system framed during the time of British, the ridicule the justice system subjects the poor to and the inability to ever get justice. The film brings out the flaws in our justice system in which the poor have no place with a remarkable fineness. The film ‘Court’ was introduced by Suboor Ahmed, who has been associated with the Gorakhpur Film Society.
The next film screened was ‘I am Nageshwar Rao Star’, which has been made by students of Hyderabad Central University. The film brilliantly portrays the discrimination faced by Dalit students in higher educational institutes. This is the same university in which Dalit student Rohith Vemula was institutionally murdered. From this perspective also this film assumes tremendous significance. One of the directors of the film, Nageshwar says- “I raise my hand in disagreement… I am that Nageshwar who is still human”.
The next film was Rahul Roy directed ‘Factory’ which is based on the struggles of the workers of Maruti Suzuki Company. Since 2011, the workers of this company have been struggling for their rights, a struggle in which both the company management as well as the government are standing against them. Even now, 68 workers of this struggle are languishing in jail. In the entire country, in the name of reform in labour laws, those laws are being imposed which take away the basic rights of the workers. There has been a tremendous increase in this process in the recent times. Anyone who raises voice against this alliance of the government and the private companies is replied with lathis, bullets and jail and hence, the relevance of such a film that stands with struggles of the workers increases further. After the screening, the director Rahul Roy had a long discussion with the audience and shared the recent updates of the Maruti struggle.
In the lecture series organized in the memory of the famous philosopher and thinker of Gorakhpur, Late Prof. Ramkrishna Mani Tripathi, the second lecture was given by Prof. Laltoo. Prof. Laltoo, besides being a famous Hindi poet, is also known for his revolutionary ideas on science, technology and social relations. Delivering his lecture, Prof. Laltoo said that we cannot forget Prof. Ramkrishna Mani Tripathi’s dream of a society based on equality and that he will forever remain a source of inspiration for us. He further said that films are a medium of correcting rational and logical thinking. Therefore, coming here also gives me strength. He said that we are human beings and that is why we love the entire nature, that is why we resist and we struggle. We raise our voices high against hatred for love.
Delivering his lecture on ‘Nationalism’, Prof. Laltoo said that though nearly one fourth people of this country are illiterate, more than half the people spend their lives in abject poverty, the systems for education and health care are in shambles, and despite all this nearly one fourth of the country’s wealth is spent on maintaining the armed forces and other oppressive structures. All this happens in the name of nationalism. He said that in current times a pervasive sense of nation has where there will be no compromise on the nation’s sovereignty but those within the boundaries of the nation will have complete freedom, everyone will be able to spend their lives with freedom within the boundaries of the nation. Rulers, in times of troubles have offered a one sided definition of nation and termed those away from the mainstream within the country as the enemies. A new aggressive form of nationalism emerged from this tendency of looking for enemies within oneself only.
He said that the formation of what we today called India, officially started in 1858. Then, when the rich classes realized that they were losing their power. But this nationalism involved taking everyone together against colonialism. The other one sided nationalism came in front of us in the form of Hindutava.
He said that after independence the kind of nationalism that had been imagined, faced its biggest danger from casteism and the second danger from local capitalists. Now the situation is such that since last decade of the previous century, striking a deal with the global capitalists and with the help of Indian ruling system, they are openly looting the resources of the country. Today a fighting unity can be seen between the Dalits-left-minorities-women. This is what the Sangh Parivar is trying to break in campuses like JNU. The irony of the aggressive nationalism of the sangh parivar is that on one hand it has a Brahaminical Sanskrit language based policy and on the other hand privatization of education is its agenda.
Prof. Laltoo also said that there are two options today- either the small pro Sanskrit-English section close to the ruling class will increase its oppression or the various nationalities, strengthening their social contracts will present a dream of a new multilingual and a multicultural nation. A nation where not geographical sovereignty but the overall prosperity of every human being will be termed as patriotism.
2nd day of 11th Gorakhpur Film Festival
15 May 2016
Screening of Films discussing struggles in Niyamgiri, Odisha and Kashmir
Children watch and discuss movies
On the second day of the Gorakhpur Film Festival, the session started with screening of children’s films. ‘Kanche aur Postcard’ (Marbles and postcards), directed by Ridham Janve, while on one hand marks the indifference in society towards children, on the other hand it also presents before us their simple intuitive minds. Kranti Kanade directed ‘Mahek Mirza’ is a story of a dreamy eyed girl who regularly dreams, feels depressed when the dreams shatter and yet she does not stop dreaming. Eventually her persistence brings her success. The conclusion of the children’s session of film screening ended with a discussion with children in which they talked about their dreams.
In this era of prohibitions on our freedom of eating and drinking, ‘Caste on the Menu Card’ is a meaningful film made by Ananya Gaur and others that received much appreciation from the audience. The film ‘Khoon Diy Baarav’ (Blood leaves its Trail) directed by Iffat Fatima sheds light on the situation in Kashmir. Sharing the woes of those missing since last ten years in Kashmir, this film provides a voice to the deep seated sadness and anger among the Kashmiri people.
A short film on Afspa and Irom Sharmila ‘My Body My Weapon’ was also screened this day. This 10 minute film is directed by Kavita Joshi.
The film ‘Referendum’ directed by Tarun Mishra is a tale of the struggles of tribals in Niyamgiri. Dongriya tribes fought the battle to defend their forests and were successful in sending back a ruthless company like the Vedanta. As per the order of the Supreme Court, Gram Panchayats of Dongria people were held in which mining was univocally rejected. The film is an extremely alive documentation of these panchayats. The next film was director Pushpa Rawat’s ‘Mod’ (Turn). This film presents a realistic image of lower middle class youth. The audience interacted with both Tarun Mishra and Pushpa Rawat after the screening of their movies.
The last programme of today’s session was presented by Dr. Aziz Ahmed in which through stories, songs and pictures, he opened the life of much loved poet Sahir Ludhianvi for the listeners. This also happens to be the centenary year of the poet. In the end, the convener of the Gorakhpur film society, Manoj Kumar, expressed gratitude towards all. He shared that Cinema of Resistance film festival has now also started in Maharajaganj and Devariya. This year, the festival will also be organized in Mau and Kushinagar. Besides this, the Gorakhpur film society will now strive to organize regular screenings in different parts of the city.
On both the days, ‘Janmat’ magazine and Gorakhpur Film Society organized an exhibition of books and movie DVDs which were met with enthusiastic response from the audience who had come for the festival and several books and DVDs were sold. Youth singer Aamir also kept the audience enthralled with his songs during the breaks. Nearly 1000 audience from within and outside Gorakhpur participated in the film festival.
Presented by Mrityunjay for the 11th Gorakhpur Film Festival.
May 29, 2016
For more information related to the festival,
Cinema of Resistance
thegroup.jsm-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org and 9811577426.
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