Joining the list of public service short films that are currently being screened in various Indian theatres will now be one on the conservation of the Narmada river. Directed by filmmaker Fahad Samar in association with Mukul Kaisliwal’s MW Corp, the one minute 27 second video will see veteran classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj singing a hymn about the water body, which is considered sacred in many parts of the country.
It was his random travels that brought Samar to the spot where the river originates and gave him the idea. “I realised that the river was being polluted with hundreds of aluminium diyas (oil lamps) right at its source, a small hamlet in Madhya Pradesh,” says Samar. Aghast at the lack of knowledge about water pollution, he decided to shoot the film. “It is considered one of the holiest rivers in India, even more than the Ganga. There is a legend that says that the Ganga would come to the Narmada to wash off her own sins. Even though we consider these rivers sacred, we don’t seem to notice that we are contradicting the thought by desecrating them.”
Samar is currently in talks with the concerned authorities to finalise the deal to get the film screened in theatres. But his effort to spread the word about the deteriorating situation of Indian rivers does not stop here. Motivated by the response his first video has garnered, Samar now plans on creating a series of films on all the major rivers in the country. “We Indians are very parochial at times. We’ll show concern about a matter or, in this case, a river that we are familiar with. So I have decided to shoot the series now to reach out to everyone,” he explains. Though for this video, he roped in Pandit Jasraj and shot him at the banks of the Narmada, for the rest — Kaveri, Ganga, Brahmaputra and Hooghly among others — he plans on getting other public personalities who have a better connect with the audience in that specific part of the country. “I have not finalised any names yet, but if I shoot a video on the river Hooghly, I will try and get someone whom the Bengalis can identify with,” he says.