small films big is­sues

Doc­u­men­tary film­maker Rahul Roy feels that not only are doc­u­men­tary films wit­ness­ing in­creased screen­ings across the coun­try, the de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion of tech­nol­ogy has led to more peo­ple go­ing be­hind the cam­era.

India Today - - CINEMA - By Sukant Deepak

In the year 2012, when a man­ager at a Maruti Suzuki plant in Mane­sar plant was killed, the star an­chor of a news chan­nel in­vited rep­re­sen­ta­tives from cor­po­rate houses, lawyers, friends and fam­ily mem­bers of the de­ceased for the prime time show. Per­haps she for­got to in­vite even a sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the worker’s side. One hun­dred and fifty work­ers were put be­hind bars on charges like mur­der and ar­son, 36 of whom are still in jail, and 2,500 oth­ers dis­missed after the in­ci­dent.

Doc­u­men­tary film­maker Rahul Roy was watch­ing the pro­gramme and it im­me­di­ately struck him that no­body was open to even lis­ten work­ers' ver­sion, not even news chan­nels. “That was the mo­ment I de­cided to make a film that turned out to be The Fac­tory (2016). Dur­ing the course of in­ter­views with work­ers and their fam­ily mem­bers, I gath­ered that the fight was in­sti­gated by the com­pany goons and the man­ager who was killed had al­ways been sym­pa­thetic to­wards the work­ers,” says the 54-year old in­de­pen­dent film­maker who has to his credit films like Ma­jma (2001), When Four Friends Meet

(2000) and The City Beau­ti­ful

(2003). Roy, whose jour­ney started after he fin­ished his mas­ters in Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Jamia Mil­lia Is­lamia Univer­sity in New Delhi (1987) has ad­dressed is­sues like com­mu­nal­ism and mas­culin­i­ties in his work, he is “glad” that this genre doesn’t get any kind of state or cor­po­rate sup­port. “That would take away all the free­dom, no? I’ve never un­der­stood why do we ex­pect that.”

Roy's films have been screened across the world in­clud­ing uni­ver­si­ties like NYU, UCLA and Har­vard in the US. While In­dian doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers are open­ing to dif­fer­ent nar­ra­tives in the genre and not just re­strict­ing them­selves to po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary, Roy feels that democrati­sa­tion of tech­nol­ogy has been in­stru­men­tal in in­tro­duc­ing sev­eral new peo­ple to the medium. “Check out on­line medi­ums like YouTube where scores of young­sters are ex­per­i­ment­ing with short and long films.”

As the con­ver­sa­tion veers to­wards Roy’s graphic book on mas­culin­ity A Lit­tle Book on Men printed in 2007 by Yoda Press, which still en­joys mas­sive read­er­ship, and the work he has been do­ing in the field, the film­maker says, “You know, when­ever we talk about gen­der, the con­ver­sa­tion al­ways re­volves around women, as if men are not gen­der en­ti­ties."

Roy’s films can be bought on­line from mag­i­clantern­

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