It is more than just an annual film festival in Ayodhya.
Known as Awam Ka Cinema, the three-day event is also a celebration of the value of harmony as it begins on the martyrdom day of freedom fighters Ashfaqullah Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil who remained friends despite attempts
by troublemakers to drive a communal wedge between the two.
Besides screening 12 socially and politically relevant and 'sensitive' documentaries from December 19 to 21, the event will have activists and film-makers discuss topics like Ayodhya: Beetey do dashak (Ayodhya: Last two decades) or 65 Saal, Wahi Sawaal (Same issues after 65 years of Independence).
Slated 20 years after the demolition of the disputed structure, the discussions may acquire a thought-provoking resonance of their own.
"Ayodhya suffered due to communal issues fanned by some people. It was at this place that we initiated the Awam Ka Cinema in 2006. Since then, we begin
this festival every year on the martyrdom day of freedom fighters Ashfaqullah Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil who remained the best of friends and not only fought for the freedom of India together, but attained martyrdom together.
During their times, some Muslims and Hindus tried to instigate Ashfaq and Bismil (against each other). But both saw through the evil designs and remained friends. This is why we begin the fest on their martyrdom day to make people understand and value harmony," says Shah Alam, a founder-member of Awam Ka Cinema.
"As the name suggests, it is a film festival for the people (awam), by the people and of the people.
While other prominent film festivals are for a select class of urban people, this one is for those towns where people do not get any film festivals," Shah says.
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