FRIDAY REVIEW

Lending a voice

Focusing on the unfocused Anwar Jamal in New Delhi

Focusing on the unfocused Anwar Jamal in New Delhi   | Photo Credit: Photo: V.V. Krishnan



Filmmaker Anwar Jamal trains his camera on issues we tend to neglect.

I have not just shown their penury but also concentrated on some solutions to the problem like focussing on the concept of community farming.



“Not every ‘Singh is King’ in Punjab,” states filmmaker Anwar Jamal. It is his way of pointing out the plight of many farmers in Punjab today – his plot for an upcoming documentary film. “They are reeling under severe debt, there is a lot of depression among farmers there, some have taken the extreme step of committing suicide,” he underlines the film’s focus, the in-depth research, backed by a social organisation called Ekatra, is his basis.

“I have met farmers who are suffering, they have spoken about their plight on camera,” he states before drawing the big picture for you. “Because of the Land Ceiling Act, no farmer can have more than 17.5 acres of land in Punjab. Over the years, with the farmers’ families growing, each plot of land is getting divided among the sons, leading to a considerable paucity of farming land among individual farmers. This means the land is not enough to sustain a farmer’s need all year through,” he explains. “Considering the return, their cost of production is too high, so most of them go for bank loans on a high interest rate, which obviously they can’t repay.”

The film, produced by Rasil Basu of Ekatra, “will be hard-hitting”, promises the Delhiite. “An hour-and-half long documentary, it will be ready for screening in two months’ time.”

Jamal says, “I have not just shown their penury but also concentrated on some solutions to the problem like focussing on the concept of community farming.”

Though back from Kashmir recently after wrapping up the shooting of Sudhir Mishra’s soon-to-be-released “Sikander” where Jamal is an executive producer, he is keen on discussing yet another documentary he completed recently. “It is titled ‘Dreams of a Dark Night’. The story is about a rag-picker in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area and his dream is to build a cinema hall in his village on the Bangladesh border,” Jamal offers the kernel. “My camera chases him fulfilling his dream. He does it by saving every penny possible. He succeeded in building a kaccha theatre, I was there for its inaugural screening,” he says.

A 63-minute film, “Dreams of a Dark Night”, Jamal says, “has a different design from my other films. I am also a character in it.”

“Finally”, he sums up, “it is the story of Indian reality, a story of survival.”



SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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