Film fest to spread harmony in Ayodhya
LUCKNOW: It is more than just an annual film festival in Ayodhya. Known as Awam Ka Cinema, the three-day event is also a celebration of the value of harmony as it begins on the martyrdom day of freedom fighters Ashfaq Ullah Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil who remained friends despite attempts by troublemakers to drive a communal wedge between the two.
Besides screening 12 socially and politically relevant and ‘sensitive’ docu- mentaries from December 19 to 21, the event will have activists and film-makers discuss topics like ‘Ayodhya: Beetey do dashak (Ayodhya: Last two decades)’ or ‘65 Saal, Wahi Sawaal (Same issues despite 65 years of Independence)’. Slated 20 years after the demolition of the disputed structure, the discussions may acquire a thought-provoking resonance of their own.
“Ayodhya suffered due to communal issues fanned by some people. It was at this place that we initiated the Awam Ka Cinema in 2006. Since then, we begin this festival every year on the martyrdom day of freedom fighters Ashfaq Ullah Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil who remained the best of friends and not only fought for the freedom of India together, but also attained martyrdom together.
During their times, some Muslims and Hindus tried to instigate Ashfaq and Bismil respectively. But both saw through the evil designs and remained friends. This is why we begin the fest on their martyrdom day to make people understand and value harmony,” says Shah Alam, a founder-member of Awam Ka Cinema and Ayodhya resident.
The core committee of the Ayodhya Film Festival Society is a mix of likeminded Hindus and Muslims. They are: Ashok Srivastava, Dr Anil Singh, Jalal Siddiqui, Scharada Dubey, Dr Rupesh Singh, Shah Alam, Afaq, Amarnath Verma, Gufran Siddiqui, Abhishek Sharma, Sajjad Kargilli, Anil Varma, Naushad Ahabad, Arvind Murti, Shariq Naqvi, Vineet Maurya, Gufran Khan, Mema Khatri, Mohammad Tufail and Rajesh.
The list of documentary films that would be screened includes Ek Uddan by Hir Kumar, Harvest of Grief by Anwar Jamal, Eve on the Brew by Keshav Raina, Ram Ke Naam by Anand Patwardhan, Bit of Both by MR Baruah, Anjaam Bakhair by Sonal Vij, The Dark by Dr Bebjani and Shauvik Basu, Lost?-The Unending Search by Athar Rather, Geeli Mitti by Akansha Gupta, Umeed-Ek Nayi Disha by Nandita Anand and Navnitesh Singh, Lucknow ki Machhliyan by Vikram Rupani and In Divine Interest by Pradeep Patil. Shah says Awam Ka Cinema is an uncommon and a kind of travelling film festival that began its journey from Ayodhya in 2006. It shows non-commercial cinema in some other small towns of the country too. Already, it has taken its distinctive type of cinema to the mountains (Kargil Film Festival) and even the ravines (Chambal Film Festival).
“As the name suggests it is a film festival for the people (Awam), by the people and of the people. While other prominent film festivals are for a select class of urban people, this one is for those towns where there are no film festivals,” he explains.