Tuesday, June 18, 2024

A documentary on citizen activism

Documentary film maker Vikas Badiger

Documentary film maker Vikas Badiger
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Vikas badiger, who had earlier made a documentary on transgenders, Kathegala Kanive, is out with another film, Thou Shall Not Steel. The 45-minute documentary captures the journey of Bangaloreans who protested the construction of a steel flyover on the Chalukya Hotel-Hebbal stretch.

Vikas, an MBA graduate who started an online platform, Faces of Bengaluru, chronicling stories of people and places in the IT city, followed the protest on social media platforms. “When the protest against the flyover took place in 2014-15, I was not in India, but was following the developments keenly online by Citizens for Bengaluru. Social media was in a nascent stage at that time. What captured my attention was when the founder member of Citizens of Bengaluru, Srinivas Alavilli, posted a message celebrating the fifth anniversary of the win on their Steel Flyover Beda protest. I connected with them, got footage and documented their fight.”

Vikas says that it took him a year to collect footage, speak to the people and make this film. “What was impressive was that common citizens of Bengaluru used social media platforms and motivated thousands to come out to protest against the making of this flyover. It is not an easy task, specially in the Bengaluru of the 2015 when we were still considered laidback.”

The documentary follows how lay people, activitists, architects and urban designers joined hands with celebrities including television and media personality Prakash Belawadi and singer MD Pallavi for this cause.

Prakash Belawadi, one of the celebrities who fought against the steel flyover

Prakash Belawadi, one of the celebrities who fought against the steel flyover
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“They asked why this particular flyover was needed and strongly voiced that they, as citizens of this city, did not want or need the said flyover. And, they succeeded! It was a rare win. The documentary takes us through the backstories leading up to the protest, the grassroots-mobilisation and solidarity that ensued, and the ultimate cancellation of the project by the State government. The film also explores the larger issues of citizen participation, public accountability, and environmental justice in the context of the city’s rapid urbanisation and development.”

Vikas, has written and directed the documentary, which is produced by Faces of Bengaluru. “People should watch more documentaries as they present reality. Today, with many documentaries thriving on OTT platforms and the Oscar win for The Elephant Whisperers, I feel that documentary making itself has undergone a transformation. It is no longer just sharing information, but the facts and reality is presented in an entertaining manner.”

Thou Shall Not Steel will be screened on April 8 at Bangalore International Centre, at 5pm. It is open to all.

#documentary #citizen #activism

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