SHOMA CHHATERJEE EPLAINS WH LOHA GARAM HAI AND UNDERSTANDING TRAFF
ICKING HAVE BAGGED THE NATIONAL AWARDS THIS EAR.
The National Film Awards have a category featuring non- fiction films and shorts. This is further classified under sub- heads offering visibility and incentive to committed documentary filmmakers whose work would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
This year, two incisive and investigative documentaries from the Eastern region, among others, have won the National Award for the Best Environment Film and the Best Film on Social Issues, respectively.
Iron is Hot ( Loha Garam Hai ) is produced by Akhra, an organisation of young Adivasi youth of Ranchi in Jharkhand which makes documentary films on violation of human rights, environmental pollution and other socially relevant issues that affect indigenous tribes. Meghnath Bhattacharya and Biju Toppo, founder- organisers of Akhra jointly direct it.
Loha Garam Hai , within 43 minutes, presents a holistic picture of an industry allowed to grow oblivious of its effects on the lives of the people, in violation of every law in the book with help from the powers- thatbe at the administrative level.
Through graphics, title cards, data and interviews with people of Sundargarh, Rajgangpur in Orissa, Siltara, etc.
Loha Garam Hai is a scathing indictment on the lop- sided concept of industrialisation gained at the cost of human lives, environment, agriculture and livestock. It talks to some victims, a few experts and some angry men and women who are staunchly against this industrial growth.
The film opens a world of information and education on a little- known industry that is endangering the environment and is also posing a threat to the lives of livestock and human beings. Few Indians are even aware that there is sponge iron manufacture in the country. Loha Garam Hai won the IDPA Award in the same category in 2009.
Akhra was born in 1996 when a group of young people, while evaluating the development of tribal or Adivasi society felt that Adivasis do not have a presence in literature, films and journalism.
Among its other films are Unknown Martyrs about the massacre of Adivasis when ex- Parliamentarian Fr. Antony Murmu and 13 others were killed in Banjhi, Sahibgunj District of Jharkhand.
Development Flows from the Barrel of the Gun is about the violation of human rights of indigenous people due to wrongly planned development projects in Koel- Karo ( Jharkhand), Kashipur ( Orissa), Nagarnar ( Chattisgarh), Umbargaon ( Gujarat) and Mehndikhera ( Madhya Pradesh.) Another film by Akhra, Ek Ropa Dhan also won a National Award for the Best Promotional Film this year.
The citation states, " The film is well documented with a forthright exposition of the grievous impact of pollution due to sponge iron industry on the inhabitants dwelling around that area. With clarity and veracity, the film maker is able to express empathy and concern on the acute prevailing problem over human existence." Understanding Trafficking , directed by Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborty won the UNFPA- Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity 2009- 2010 at the all India level.
It uses the legend of Sita and the Lakshman Rekha that defined the limits of her mobility as an analogy to encourage women to cross this line that separates them from their legitimate desires, aspirations and freedoms. It explains that how the right to seek a better life often gets truncated by the trafficking net