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Now, an RSS film festival to promote Indian ethos and slam J&K autonomy

Anurag Dey | Updated on: 21 August 2017, 21:32 IST

After school textbooks and research laboratories, it's time for the silver screen to turn saffron.

In its bid to spread cultural values, traditional Indian art and sciences, as well as to educate people about issues like political violence in Kerala or the “illegality” of Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy, the RSS will be organising a short film festival in the national capital early next year.

National Award-winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and veteran Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff are among the prominent names roped in to promote the three-day “Chitra Bharti Film Festival”, beginning 16 February 2018.

Organised by RSS affiliate Bharatiya Chitra Sadhna (BCS), the festival will have four segments — short films, documentaries, animation and campus films.

This will be the second edition of the festival. The inaugural edition was held at Indore in February 2015, which witnessed the participation of over 300 short films from eight states.

Objective of the festival

Established in 2015, the BCS aims to create a pool of “Nation First” talent, who would spread Indian culture through their movies and counter films that are made with “political propaganda with the intention of maligning the rich heritage & cultural values”.

Led by Bhandarkar and other film personalities, the BCS will be visiting campuses and film institutes across the country scouting for participants, particularly the youth.

“With Bhandarkar's association, the stature of the festival has increased manifold. The festival is platform to promote and fresh talent, and that is why we will be visiting various film institutes and campuses to invite entries,” said BCS chairman Alok Kumar.

“In the Indore edition, we had over 300 film entries and the presence of renowned film personalities like Rahul Rawail and Vivek Agnihotri. This time, we hope the entries will surpass 1,000, and more eminent personalities from the film and culture world would join us,” he said.

Bhandarkar, who launched the BCS website in the national capital, said the festival will be a great platform for promoting talent.

“Short films are increasingly getting into vogue. We have now big stars and filmmakers making short films, and they are a great platform for independent film makers. I am honoured and excited to be part of this festival, which is not just for the youth, but for the entire country,” the director of films like Chandni Bar and Fashion said.

“People, especially in smaller centres, have concepts but not the means. We have many filmmakers and writers who don't have contacts and means to spread their ideas. This festival will afford them that platform. People, especially youth across the country will connect to this venture.”

While Jackie Shroff has already agreed to be part of the event, Delhi state RSS prachar pramukh Rajiv Tuli said more film personalities would be part of the initiative.

Agenda pushing

With BJP in power at the Centre and in a number of states, the saffron brigade has been actively pushing its agenda for a Hindu Rashtra. If school textbooks in Rajasthan and Maharashtra were altered include the RSS's narrative of history, premier institutes like IIT Delhi and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) are researching on cow excreta or the 'X factor' of Ganga water.

The film festival is the RSS's latest endevour to further its agenda.

It will be using the event to intensify its attack on Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, which grant special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The festival will have a series of films documenting on the history of the two Constitutional articles and their “ill effects” on the various classes of people.

“The people of the country must realise how the two Constitutional articles have destroyed the life of the people who were living in the Valley for generations,” said an RSS functionary.

There will also be documentaries on political violence in Kerala and communal violence in West Bengal.

First published: 21 August 2017, 21:32 IST