A film based on contaminated water bodies of Punjab and the strive by Sant Seechewal and people of Punjab to get rid of the curse, ‘The battle begins’, has won the best film award in Water for Life category at the 8th CMS (Centre for Media Studies) Vatavaran International Film Festival held in New Delhi on October 11.
CMS Vatavaran is ranked as the top two environmental and wildlife film festivals in the world. Out of 178 entries, 117 were from India, 61 from abroad.
The jury comprising eight eminent personalities from print and film media was headed by a veteran director and actor Amol Palekar.
The 28-minute documentary depicts how a holy man with his dedication and determination gathered locals to join his mission, how he revived their hopes and motivated them to stand up and raise their voice and take direct action.
The film has been directed by Surendra Manan, highlighting the gravity of the situation in which people of Punjab have been engulfed and encircled by the enemies of their natural resources, including land and water, and finding no respite from the authorities they themselves started grappling with the enemies.
Manan, who belongs to Jalandhar and lives in New Delhi, has won IDPA Gold Award for the best film in 2007. He is also a recipient of Special Mention Jury Award ECOFILMS, Greece and Water for All award at Vatavaran International film festival in 2009. He is a well-known author with five published books to his credit.
The film shows how industrial and domestic affluent are released into open drains and act as catastrophe when they meet Sutlej and Beas.
Manan said, “Nature has blessed us with pure water but human activities has turned it into a curse. Only meetings and talks on the problem will not yield anything. I did a research and visited various places in Punjab. I wanted to make the film as it is my personal wish to see the water bodies clean.”
Talking to HT, Sant Seechewal said, “The film is based on the campaign that we started, but still we will have to work hard. The problem has come to such an extent that people are dying of diseases but the government is still not serious about the grave problem.”