First-time filmmakers impress with their fare

What lures a viewer into watching a film--Its subject, characters or the drama awaiting to unfold? When the students of Department of Convergent Journalism, Jamia Millia Islamia organised their annual documentary film festival, Ainaa, at the campus, it was the palpable excitement and confidence of the first- time directors coupled with an interesting array of stories that enticed the viewers to throng for the screenings.

“There were more than 650 people in the Ansari Auditorium,” exclaimed Raghu Kalra, one of the directors of Head In The Stars. Enthused by the success of their college-based documentary festival, these young filmmakers are set to take a step ahead. They want to screen their documentaries across multiple public platforms in the City. Metrolife caught up with three student directors to talk about their films and aspirations.

Raghu’s film Head In the Stars follows the community of amateur astronomers in Delhi. He delves into the lives of three of them to explore the passion they share. “From the last 10 years, I have been a part of the Amateur Astronomers Association. This group has lawyers, doctors, and students among others, who share a common interest-- the night sky and its myriad wonders, ” says he. This participatory form of documentary weaves in Raghu’s own experiences with that of the three amateur astronomers. This film has been selected for screening at the Rashtriya Vigyan Chalchitra Mela in Bangalore.

Introducing his film Uncle Bond, Karan Deep Singh, reveals what ruled and guided his mind during the making of the film. “We wanted our audience to be entertained. The whole perception about documentary films is that they are just ‘boring’. We wanted to break that!,” says the filmmaker of the observational documentary that captures the life of a 60-year-old Punjabi, Mr Gupta and his strange penchant for spy cams.

Nagen Singh’s This Filthy Life pays a tribute to the life of a manual scavenger in an observational manner. Acknowledging appreciation from his viewers and teachers, Nagen humbly suggests, “Seventeen students from our batch pitched their proposals, out of which six ideas were selected. If my documentary wasn’t selected at that stage, I would have loved to work with my friend Tahir, whose documentary Please Mind The Gap features the life of a deaf person.”

The other two documentaries at the festival included What’s Wrong With My Islam and Kaansutra , entailing a discourse on Islam and the life of an ear-cleaner, Bharat Soda, respectively.

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