Film fest to spread har­mony in Ay­o­d­hya

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - FRONT PAGE - Pankaj Jaiswal pjaiswal@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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