|Posted by Filmmaker Ranjan Palit
Saturday, June 01, 2002
Subject: WAR AND PEACE
The last min cancellation of WAR AND PEACE (anand patwardhan) as the inaugural film of the documenntary festival organised by Films Division and Nandan, is a shady and spineless act on the part of the organisers. the blatant lies – first that the film hadn’t arrived, and then that the copy was bad, go to prove that FD still has rotten elements…but its important to try and get to the bottom of this – why would fd want to soil their own clothes, and enbarass everyone, including themselves, by not showing a film, that they awarded 2 main prizes to, in their own MUMBAI festival, earlier this year?
It could be that someone tipped them off that the film is still awaiting a censor certificate,and that the regional officer of the mumbai censor board has threatened to stop the kolkata screening–but then festivals don’t need censor certificates-the film was shown several times in the course of the mumbai festival, and to large audiences! one wonders would the other films they’re showing all have censor certificates?…probably not, given that some of them are foreign films!
its probably something like a directive from the INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING MINISTRY which does not want publicity for an antiwar film when the bjp govt is contemplating war with pakistan as one of the effective ways of pulling the nation together and forcing them to forget gujarat and the criminal negligence of their darling modi!
DEFENCE, anyway has always been a holy cow, with most institutions, beareaucracies and parties. even the cpm who love to show his other films, must be squirming about WAR AND PEACE and one remembers, how , after our own film, VOICES FROM BALIAPAL (which was about a people’s struggle against a missile testing range) won the golden conch, in the ist bombay documentary festival, and a national award , and was in the INDIAN PANAROMA, in the int film festival in delhi, the last 2 criteria, making it mandatory, for doordarshan to telecast it, we fought in the courts ,against DD, for 8 years, and then gave up, as the case never once came up for hearing!!! the film was never shown on DD!
in fact, we fought the case for years, with some weird optimism, till i met the then secretary of the information and broadcasting ministry, sri bhasker ghose, at the awards party, in the bombay documentary festival,1994 (where a film i had shot, TALES FROM PLANET KOLKATA ,BY RUCHIR JOSHI,was in competition) I was standing alone, with a plate of food, when prabodh maitra, grabbed me and took me to meet bhasker DA!!
“here is the man – he and his wife made that film VOICES FROM BALIAPAL which.”…..bhasker turned and looked straight into my eyes, and with the manner of a criminal attorney, interrogated me “what is happening with that film”
“we’re fighting a court case against DD, so that they show “, i said , with a swagger…
he looked at me with pitiful eyes,as if i were some imbecile, an incorrigble, immature documentary filmmaker, who will never understand the ways of the world, politics, or state machinery…
” win it, then we’ll show it”
VOICES FROM BALIAPAL, was never telecast. the movement, which was a nonviolent one, where women with conch shells would raise alarms, and grab their children, lie down in the path of govt/army vehicles, carried on for almost a decade, while the govt waited patiently, for it to burn itself out,(something that happens with most people’s movements, over a long period of time) and is still waiting, to move in, sometime in the near future …the same ministry, which will award these films, will prevent their screenings, when they feel threatened, in the arena which is most sacred – DEFENCE.
AS A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER, WORKING FROM KOLKATA, I CONDEMN AND URGE THE FILMMAKING COMMUNITY TO CONDEMN, FD’S CANCELLETION OF ANAND’S FILM WAR AND PEACE, AS THE INAUGURAL FILM OF THEIR DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL.
AS THE NATION PREPARES FOR WAR….