iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ruchir Kumar , Hindustan Times
Patna, February 26, 2014
So far, there was only the “Gujarati asmitha”. And now it is time for “Bihari pride” – a 70-second audio-visual capsule showcasing the development of the state which is shown in cinema halls, much like the Films Division documentaries in the 1970s. Conceptualised by Bihar’s information and public relations department (IPRD), the high-definition AV opened across the state’s 182 theatres on February 15.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s brainchild takes a leaf out of bête noir Narendra Modi’s book -- raising the latent self respect of people and in the process, trumpet the achievements of the government ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Unlike Gujarat, which has roped in ‘Big B’ as its brand ambassador, Bihar’s AV portrays no celebrity. Its ‘heroes’ are rural women, sprightly schoolgirls cycling and smart, confident, nattily dressed sophomores ready to take on life’s challenges.

The film has no commentary either. That almost all the development has taken place during the eight years of Nitish Kumar rule is never overtly stated. Yet, it leaves the audience in no doubt that the Nitish regime had “done much” for them to be proud of.

The capsule goes heavy on images -- the rich cultural heritage, a unique blend of communal harmony, glimpses of Rajgir ropeway and the world acclaimed Madhubani painting. It goes on to show the rapid strides made in agriculture, health, education, roads and bridge sectors.

An AV clip from the recently concluded sub-junior sports meet, showing young girls practicing karate and the last slide of a smartly marching women police battalion, drives in the message of women’s empowerment.

“The capsule cost a nominal R6 lakh to make and to show it in the movie halls, we will spend R24 lakh a month. The arrangement is initially for one month,” said IPRD secretary Pratyaya Amrit.