Shaking you out of stupor

WHEN REALITY strikes and the full force of it is shown on the screen, the viewer is shaken out of his stupor. For those who gathered to watch Anand Patwardhan's award-winning documentary, War and Peace, at H.N. Kalakshetra on Sunday, this was the experience. The show was organised by the Alternative Film Forum, a group of film enthusiasts. This film dealt with the effects of war, particularly a nuclear one, and the harmful effects of radioactive substances on people. Mr. Patwardhan was present to answer the queries of the viewers.

The film, released in 2002, was shot for over 1,800 hours over three years after the 1998 nuclear tests in Pokhran. Mr. Patwardhan had to wage a legal battle for over a year to get the film certified by the Central Board of Film Certification. Among several awards, the film won the Film Critics Award in the International Film Festival held in Sydney in 2002. This two-and-a-half hour film analyses the human cost involved in national security. It starts with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and documents cases of cancer in the villages surrounding Pokhran, more so at Khetolai village, 15 km away. It also shows similar cases at Jadopura, which is 1 km from the Uranium Corporation of India factory.

Mr. Patwardhan juxtaposes these scenes with the Government's justification for stockpiling nuclear warheads.

Raghava M.

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