It is for the first time that a Punjabi film has been awarded at the ninth We Care Film Festival, informs GS Sidhu Damdami, a Chandigarh-based media personality who has had successful stints in both print and broadcast media.
The film in mention is a 30-minute documentary, Thanedaar Da Mission, which was shot by Damdami in 2009 and is based on a disabled man's courageous journey through adversities.
"The film is actually the third episode of a 13-episode series called Rab De Mazdoor, which had been running on my Punjabi channel, Sada Channel, since the last two years," says Damdami, CEO and editor-in-chief of the channel. The festival, meanwhile, also included screenings of other award-winning one, five and 30-minute films on issues of human disability. Held on July 31 this year at New Delhi, We Care Film Festival is organised by Brotherhood, a socio-cultural organisation.
Elaborating on his film's subject, Damdami shares, "Ram Dayal was serving as a police sub-inspector when he lost his legs in an accident in Germany. Thanedaar Da Mission, thereby documents his rehabilitation and consequent efforts to help poor students through a campaign being run by him. His inspiring life shows the brave side of Punjab."
Notably, Ram Dayal, who is currently serving in Chandigarh as a police inspector, was covered by HT City some months ago for the missionary work being done by him in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (formerly called Nawanshahr).
Damdami, who has previously been the editor of leading Punjabi dailies and TV channels, is also a writer and poet. When asked about the state of affairs of Punjabi media, he does not make an effort to hide his disappointment. "It's high time that good cinema and documentaries become a part of Punjabi TV channels. Even the audience should start thinking and ask for serious content in films and TV. I am not against comedy, music or dance; I only mean that the media's role is to make the youngsters think on the right path and not to drug them further by promoting the wrong kind of music."
Providing guidance on the aspects in broadcast media that require improvisation, Damdami offers, "Exclusivity of programmes is necessary, along with a need for an intelligent audience. I often think, that if viewers don't demand informative talk shows and documentaries, and Punjabis are only keen on listening to music, then it's better for them to buy iPads instead of watching TV."
But Damdami prefers to believe that the Punjabi community comprises of thinkers, who are not yet ready to reflect. "That is why TV channels don't show Punjab's bright side that can further inspire the youth," he signs off.