Anand Patwardhan’s docu on Dalit activists wins best film award | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Anand Patwardhan’s docu on Dalit activists wins best film award

Nine years after the path-breaking documentary War and Peace, Anand Patwardhan, one of India's controversial filmmakers, is back with a documentary on Dalit music and activism - Jai Bhim Comrade. Last week, his film was awarded the Ram Bahadur Trophy for the Best Film at the Film Southasia 2011 festival held at Kathmandu.

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2011 01:52 IST

Nine years after the path-breaking documentary War and Peace, Anand Patwardhan, one of India's controversial filmmakers, is back with a documentary on Dalit music and activism - Jai Bhim Comrade. Last week, his film was awarded the Ram Bahadur Trophy for the Best Film at the Film Southasia 2011 festival held at Kathmandu.


Fourteen years in the making, the three-hour-and-20 minute-long film explores the history of Dalit activism in Maharashtra in the aftermath of the killing of 10 activists in Mumbai in 1997. The Bhim in the film refers to the Indian constitutionalist and thinker Bhimrao Ambedkar.

"Jai Bhim Comrade is close to me for personal reasons. The trigger of my film was a friend, Vilas Ghogre, a poet and a musician who hung himself in 1997 when the police shot dead 10 unarmed Dalits in Mumbai," said Patwardhan "The film covers that moment and goes on to explore events that unfolded in the aftermath. It is an overview of Indian history seen through the prism of caste and class and an exploration of the music of protest."

Known for his political documentaries, he had refused to direct Bandit Queen, preferring to work with real people. While many of his films have faced long legal battles, which he has invariably won, Patwardhan hopes that Jai Bhim Comrade that upholds the spirit of the Indian constitution should not face any delays.