Documentary explores caste-based violence

Documentary explores caste-based violence

Film Activism

In January 2012, Ganesh Suna a young Dalit boy was allegedly beaten up by a shopkeeper who alleged him of stealing a shirt.

When Suna’s grandfather, along with male members of his community, decided to file an FIR against the accused, the entire Gandapara village in Lathore, Orissa was allegedly surrounded by a mob of 500 people who set ablaze all the houses in the locality.

The residents, who mostly comprised children and women, took refuge in a forest adjacent to Gandapara. A local journalist happened to record some portions of the entire incident. Days later, Subrat Kumar Sahu, a filmmaker who hails from the same village, visited his native to document what had transpired on January 22, 2012.

Two years later, Sahu, has finally come up with his documentary, Mleccha Sanhaara, which is going to be screened across Delhi this month. The film takes the audiences into the lives of those who were forced to run away from their homes and settle in a local school for months to come.

Metrolife caught up with the director to ask about his experiences while filming the documentary. “Every village my film crew moved around, we realised there were so many horrid stories to tell. Why these stories are not being told is beyond my comprehension,” Sahu said.

After completing his M.Phil in Russian Language studies, Sahu started his career working with prominent TV shows including Aap Ki Adalat. Eventually he realised that he would rather travel and tell stories of people instead of spending time in the confines of his office. Among the other four films to be made by him include, I sing therefore I exist, a film on a visually impaired street singer.

Sahu has covered several issues including internally displaced people, water sanitation and rights of differently-abled people.

“Mleccha Sanhaara, being my fifth independent film, is quite close to me in a sense that I see my hometown being used as a laboratory for propagation of extremist political ideas,” Sahu said“Those who do not adhere to Vedic principles are called Mlechha, basically the non-Aryans.

According to Vishnu Purana, Kalki - the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu - would come and annihilate them to cleanse the world of all impurities to establish Dharma. Whether or not Kalki plans to establish Dharma, forces have already let loose to what I call the ‘Kalki project’,” Sahu added.

“Often these incidents are shown as caste rivalries. It’s not a rivalry but a carnage with the state aiding the whole mechanism,” Sahu elaborated. 

While in conversation, the 45-year-old filmmaker said that it was ‘unimaginable’ for him to think that people didn’t get disturbed by the happenings in Orissa.

“There is a person in the same area whose 14-year-daughter was abducted and raped. Police, instead of arresting the accused, booked the father under charges of land grabbing. The film is my attempt to let people know what the administration is up to beyond the metropolis,” Sahu concluded.