Vinay Shukla and Khushboo Ranka joined us over the weekend from the BFI London Film Festival and had a chat with filmmaker, writer and Firstpost columnist Rajesh Thind about their documentary, An Insignificant Man which took nearly three-and-a-half years to complete.
An Insignificant Man, according to the makers is a film about protesters and outsiders who are trying to break into the biggest democracy in the world, India. At the heart of the film is believed to be the protagonist, Arvind Kejirwal. Vinay and Khusbhoo see the politician as one of the most polarising figures in India today.
In the chat with Firstpost, the two discuss the leader and his party (the Aam Aadmi Party) from their early beginning to the first election victory.
The ambitious project was initially called Proposition For Revolution, which was later changed to avoid a fixed ideas people would get before (watching) the film. The new title was kept more open ended.
"People reacted saying they had specific ideas, extremely negative and violent, and to others it was too positive, too much of a grand statement," said Khushboo, of why the name was changed.
After finishing three screenings at TIFF and two houseful shows at London, the makers seem to have got a pretty good response from the audience. Khushboo and Vinay also talked about people having connected with the film in terms of what is happening in society and the politics they can engage with.
On plans for an India release, the documentary is all set to be premiere at a film festival in Mumbai later this year and other talks are still on.
The makers spoke about the turn of events over the past three-and-a half years and how there was no film in the works initially.
"We were just following a couple of protests where Arvind Kejriwal, Yogendra Yadav and others were getting into politics because the anti corruption movement wasn't working out," said Vinay.
Following the curiosity around this and expectations about Kejriwal and his colleagues making it into politics, and questions coming up about corruption, their longevity, Vinay and Khushboo's project took shape, and slowly the crew expanded.
In their most heartening experience, the duo recollect the crowd funding campaign for the project in which nearly 800 contributors donated money based on a single video.
Both Khushboo and Vinay believe that the Indian documentary scene is amazing and a lot of the best films are documentaries, films that are experimenting the line between reality and fiction.
Though happy about the way the project has turned out, the two further emphasise the importance of more support, infrastructure and more artists showing solidarity for such projects.
"In India it is really hard, as independent film makers who are making political films; it is extremely difficult. There were people who withdrew support, there were people who loved the film but couldn't support the film," Khushboo said.
According to the makers An Insignificant Man will bring to you challenges the AAP faces or represents in India, which are pretty much universal in terms of the challenges any new political parties or faces come across: Challenges around decision making, transparency and the idea of a critical mass.
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