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.
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 magiclanternmovies.in