Delhi will host the first-ever Bhojpuri film festival, the brainchild of Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, himself one of the most prominent actors of the regional cinema.
To be organised by the ministry of information and broadcasting, the event is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The three-day event, starting February 3, will showcase nine hit movies starring Ravi Kishan, Dinesh Lal Yadav aka Nirahua, Rashmi Desai and Tiwari at Siri Fort Auditorium.
The event is being organised just a month ahead of the crucial MCD elections in Delhi. It is being touted as an attempt to woo the Purvanchali voters in Delhi, which form a quarter of the electoral population in Delhi. Purvanchalis are migrants from eastern UP and Bihar. The community forms a large chunk of the population living across several resettlement colonies in northeastern Delhi, which is represented in the Lok Sabha by Tiwari.
The festival is also expected to give impetus to the community’s demand for inclusion of Bhojpuri language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
Tiwari, however, rejected suggestion that the event has anything to do with civic polls.
“The objective is to earn the respect for Bhojpuri film industry, which it deserves. I discussed my idea with the Prime Minister almost a year ago. He readily gave his approval. He is an MP from Varanasi, the city that is considered the capital of Bhojpuri-speaking people,” Tiwari said.
The event will be kicked off with the screening of ‘Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo’ (1963), a first Bhojpuri film featuring actor, director, and screenplay writer Nazir Hussain and Kumkum, known for her roles in Mother India, Son Of India, Kohinoor, and Naya Daur. The other films are Sasura Bada Paisewala, Kab Hoi Gawana Hamar, and Bidesiya.
“Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo was produced by Bishwanath Prasad Shahabadi. It was made after our first president Dr Rajendra Prasad asked Hussain sahib to make one in Bhojpuri,” Tiwari added.
Tiwari rued saying that despite its immense contribution to preserving Indian culture, Bhojpuri film industry is not given respect. “It is one of the biggest film industries. Bhojpuri films are sold in nine territories across the country. Films are made in Bhojpuri but never tagged as Bhojpuri movies. This may be offensive but what Anurag Kashyap and Prakash Jha make, is actually Bhojpuri cinema. National awards are given to Bengali or Oriya films and actors but Bhojpuri stars and movies are not considered for recognition,” he said.
We also want to tell bust the myth that Bhojpuri movies are all about vulgarity and risque songs, he said.
“This is an attempt to recognise the contribution of Bhojpuri language and cinema. This is being debated for last 50 years. We don’t want the language to be printed on notes but due credit should be given to it,” Tiwari said.