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Impressions of a painful chapter of freedom struggle

Grim reminder:The Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar.

Grim reminder:The Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar.  

Documentary throws light on Jallianwala Bagh massacre

A hundred years on, it is all about making sure we never forget, reminds a documentary in Malayalam which pays homage to the hundreds gunned down by Colonel Reginald Dyer’s troops at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919.

As the nation prepares to observe the 100th anniversary of the colonial-era savagery on Saturday, Jallianwala Bagh: Oru Ormapeduthal revisits the horror through the eyes of Kavadiyar Ramachandran, a former professor in Malayalam. The 25-minute documentary, which sports English subtitles, is privately produced by D&S Combines, a collaboration between P.D. Santhosh, a programme producer at KITE-VICTERS, and Dominic J. Kattoor, an assistant professor in Malayalam at the Government Sanskrit College, Pattambi. Mr. Santhosh has directed the documentary while script and narration are by Mr. Kattoor.

Grim reminder

Jallianwala Bagh: Oru Ormapeduthal leads audience through the bustle of modern-day Amritsar to the 6.5-acre park, the venue of the terrible massacre that survives as a grim reminder and an oft-visited memorial of the innocent civilian victims. “We want the younger generation to understand what it was all about and why it continues to hold so important a place in our history,” Mr. Kattoor said. The documentary is dedicated to people who wish to comprehend the sheer depth of the sacrifices that made the Indian freedom struggle possible.

The documentary touches on immediate events such as the Rowlatt Act that led to the April 13 firing. The actual incident itself is portrayed with graphics. Graphics are also used to depict the 1940 Caxton Hall assassination of Michael O’Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of the massacre, by Udham Singh.

Ten-part project

Jallianwala Bagh: Oru Ormapeduthal is the third in a ten-part project on milestones in the Independence struggle that D&S Combines launched in 2011. The first two documentaries, on the Cellular Jail in the Andamans and the Malabar Rebellion, have won numerous awards and were featured in film festivals in India and abroad.

The project lacks financial backers, one reason why two documentaries took eight years to materialise.

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