Through the life lens
Final year’s master’s students of Convergent Journalism, Jamia Millia Islamia screened their documentaries at the second Ainaa Documentary Film Festival. The festival marks the showcasing of their documentaries that was made during their final year of the course under the guidance of mentors and the Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC) faculty of Jamia Millia Islamia.
Five documentaries from the duration of five minutes to twenty minutes were screened at the spacious M A Ansari Auditorium that was brimming with students, friends, family and alumnus of the course. Teachers and students from other colleges too joined in. The screening was followed by a question answer session where audience asked questions to the directors and team involved in the film making.
The theme of the documentaries covered a range of subjects. The first documentary was on Rohingya Muslims from Burma who have migrated to India in search of safer shelter. The documentary follows Afsa and her family who fled from Burma following violence and it shows their story of survival in a different land. Directed by Muhammad Faisal K, and titled I can’t be mad at Allah, the film talks about the spirit of resilience and faith in God that these refugees show even when facing terrible times.
A fun take on dreams, those achieved and those that died in the heart somehow, Malvika Saini’s documentary is aptly called Delhi Dreams. The documentary features many Delhiites’ who talk about what their dreams are/were, what adds music and fun to the story is how each respondent has a xylophone and can create music of their own while recalling their dream. The audience was in splits while watching this very short documentary.
Memories of an Autumn was a documentary on Sikh riots of 1984 narrated through the memories. The film talks about memories of people who survived the riots and were witnesses, those who have heard about the riots and are old enough to understand what happened, reflecting selective memory and finally small children who know of the riots like a fable, learnt by heart even when the story is completely flawed, false memory. Three generations tell what they knew of the riots. Many questions followed the screening where the audience asked many question to director Sanat Sinah and his team.
Aaqib Raza Khan’s Desi Angrezi was a fun take on the numerous ‘Spoken English’ courses that has sprouted in the country. It follows two characters who are struggling to learn and understand the language and master good English pronunciation so that they can succeed in achieving their dreams.
Another film that drew many eyeballs was Sailabnama by Sheikh Saaliq and Qazi Zaid that traced volunteers during their rescue/aid operations during the recent floods in Kashmir. While the filmmakers focused on the feeling of brotherhood the Kashmir floods had invoked in the locals, the discussion after the film discussed the role of the Indian army in the rescue operations. They were numerous questions asked and answered.
The documenatries were produced by the course co-ordinator Richa Pant and Simon Chamber, mentor for the students and an independent documenatry filmmaker from London.