I am a member of a film society and thus became aware of this film festival on water from June7th till 10th. When I realized that the festival was being held very close to our office, I had no second thoughts about being part of the event that was inaugurated by Nandita Das and Girish Karnad followed by some villagers singing folk songs on water. My friend Krish joined me too. After their wonderful talk on water and the importance of preserving it, a documentary from Nepal, called – “We corner people” was shown.
It was a lovely film about a remote village in the Himalayas, were any comforts is far from access. The glacier burst takes away their boulder that connects two villages and also a life. The film explores how they form a committee to build a bridge across the river. During that process, the film also unravels the silly to major issues of the village. Silly such as, a man complaining that he has been ignored by the committee to major issue such as how Nepal politics, the Maoists affect the villagers, the religion, conversion to Christianity, issues with education etc. The best thing is that the movie is very raw and touching. Also showcases the cruelty of humans when the guy whose wife got washed away with the rage of water says – “they point at me and say, hey it’s his wife etc etc, but all I know is just that my wife got carried away with water.”
After the movie there was short discussion with the director. A stupid old guy asked – “Where is water here? Its only bridge?” luckily the director could not hear it, meanwhile we all starred at him rudely to express our anger, another guy from audience replied – “Because there is water, there is bridge.” This man realized the anger in the room for him, so he stole the question from another guy and while the mike was given to him asked that question instead. It made me think, why Indians view things in a very cynical and criticizing perspective. Most of us tend to look down upon other people insteadof appreciating their work.
Next day, Krish and I did not want to miss the film”Dweepa” by Girish kasarvali. It’s a movie that I have watched many times, and can never get tired of. I will write a review on it some time. We only got to see half of it. After this, there was a talk on flood, from two villagers who had travelled from West Bengal. They shared their sad story with us, of how the changing course of river Ganga is sweeping away the land nearby. They also blame the dam constructed, as a reason to worsen this condition.
After this, there was a short film again on Agariya tribes of Kutch called – “The Lost water”. These villagers live in a land where water has never turned back for several years, a canal runs dry and they are left with no option but produce salt. Since this land is now recognized as Wild Ass sanctuary, by Indian government, they are being asked to move out of the place. They are also referred as criminals and are also harassed. The director of this film, who also is from the same community expressed his concern for the people and asked the audience, who blog to write about all this so that it could make a difference somewhere or the other. My decision to write a post on this got confirmed without any thoughts, then.
“Mountains in the mist” was another movie on Cloud Mountains of Costa Rica.
On 9th I reached the place at 3:30 PM and I watched some more documentaries and a talk from villagers of Bihar sharing their story of rain harvesting and its benefits. But one movie worth mentioning is “Do not disturb the water” It is an excellent movie of a family in Iran migrating to somewhere and they form a shelter at a mountain top. They use pebbles to smoothen the ground, they build shelters and then go in search of water, to the caves. They get huge pieces of ice from caves and then place it on a rock and allow it to melt by the sunlight. When water collects in the vessel below, the days routine start, the goats are milked, cold milk is drank, the water is used for pots, cleaning and feeding animals etc. It’s a fantastic movie simply from a day from their life.
Another good movie watched on same day was – “Village of dust, city of water” Which talks on how villages in India are suffering without water and at the same time we use water in cities so creativitly, for fountains and rain discos. Also the water from these villages is being taken away for supply in major cities thus creating scarcity there.
On the 10th of June, again Krish and I went there at 3:00 PM. One of the movies had won president’s award. There was lot of fight during discussion on that, the poor director could not answer the questions properly, partially his inability, partial the wrong type of questions. The villagers from Bihar there got outraged because of that and they scolded the director for being unable to represent their village, they even went on to comment on his president’s award and mentioned that he has not shown the complete story. The whole atmosphere got a little tensed there for a while.
That night the festival ended with an excellent film “Bara” directed by MS Sathyu. A movie on drought in district of Bidar and the corrupt politician’s controlling there. Excellent movie it is. MS Sathyu was also present there after the movie for a talk.
The festival has surely brought awareness in me on water conservation. But not only that but also the issues that our fellow countrymen are facing which never gets highlighted were brought to our notice. A gory picture of the politics behind all these issues was presented to clearly depict the corruption level in India. I am inspired by the NGO’s present there, who continuously work with these villagers for their betterment. Hope a day shall come when I decide to take a serious step on this as well, but as of now at least I can spread awareness through this blog.