Film southasia

"Festival of southasian documentries"

Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai

Directed by Nakul Singh Sawhney | |

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Synopsis

In September, 2013, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, witnessed one of India’s worst communal riots since Independence. More than 100 people, most of them Muslims, were killed and close to 80,000 people were displaced. In the past, the two districts have seen relative harmony between Muslims and Hindus. The film explores the story behind the riots.

‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai…’ (Muzaffarnagar eventually…) straddles various socio-political-economic dynamics in the area affected by the violence. It looks at the question of women’s “honour” that becomes the biggest rallying point to instigate people; it talks of the way communal polarization was affected by Hindu nationalist organisations and the Sangh Parivar and the merging of caste identity politics within the larger Hindutva fold; it looks into the breakdown of a once powerful farmers’ union (Bharat Kissan Union) because of the fissures between the two communities; it explores the Dalit politics in the region and the dubious role of Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party. All these aspects are woven together in the Indian general election campaign of 2014 that the Hindu Nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) won with a majority. The film looks at how the riots found their resonance in the elections. In the midst of this gloom, the film narrates the tale of a continued and growing resistance in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts against the corporate- communal nexus. Muzaffarangar and Shamli districts have not given up yet. And so, the film asks the question, what will be the fate of Muzaffarnagar, eventually?

[director]Nakul Singh Sawhney directed his first film in 2005, ‘with a little help from my friends’, which won the award for the 2nd best film at the 60 Seconds to Fame film festival in Chennai. He then completed a course in TV direction at the FTII, Pune, during 2005-06. At the Film Institute, he directed ‘Agaurav’ and ‘Undecided’ that won awards for the 2nd Best Film and Best Director respectively at the Hyderabad International Film Festival. After completing his course, he made a feature length documentary ‘Once upon a time in Chheharta’ on the history of the working class movement of Chheharta, Amritsar. He went on to work with Mr. Saeed Mirza on the feature film, ‘Ek Tho Chance’ where he directed “the making of the film”  and also worked as the post-production supervisor of the film.

In 2012, he finished directing the film “Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyaan”, a critically acclaimed film on “honour” crimes in Haryana. Another version of the same film titled, “Immoral Daughters” has been screened in several parts of the country as aslo in festivals like IDSFFK, Vibgyor and Film Southasia.[/director]

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