Awam Ka Cinema – A Report
Awam Ka Cinema Fest is a festival dedicate to revive Ayodhya’s lost secular tradition. Jointly operated by a Hindu and a Muslim, the film festival showcases cinema depicting patriotism and documentaries on untold stories of the region’s common man. The Fest celebrated its eighth edition recently.
The Festival usually begins on 19th December, the day revolutionary Ashfaquallah Khan was hanged in a jail in Faizabad and his comrade-in-arms Ram Prasad Bismil was executed in Gorakhpur in 1927. In this way, the three-day festival celebrates close friendship of the two freedom fighters.
One of the Founders of Awam ka Cinema Fest feels that “The atmosphere of Ayodhya and its unique culture suffered a lot at the hands of the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, whether we accept it or not, ties between religious groups got strained. So, we took this initiative because cinema is one of the most potent tools to make one’s voice heard.” Shah Alam is making a documentary on Ashfaqullah Khan.
One of the documentaries produced by the group showed the journey of a cycle mechanic who worked hard to give his son quality education. The son also made his father proud qualifying the medical entrance exam. But before their life could change, the son was murdered during the period of riots. Activist Jugal shastri says, “The aim is to show that no one gains anything in disputes and communal flare-ups. Tragedies do not differentiate.”
It also made a documentary on Ayodhya’s Hanuman Garhi Temple constructed by Nawab Shuja-ud-daulah. Local resident and fan of the Festival AK Sahu claims that the temple houses a masjid which is maintained by the mandir trust even today. This also profiles how Muslims contribute to the worship of Lord Hanuman through their handicraft, making clothes, selling puja prasad, and making khadau
Group members add that mandir-masjid dispute has pushed many issues to the margin. The festival aimed at bringing the focus on real issues such as jobs, health services and educational opportunities to the forefront of public consciousness
The group organizes similar film festivals in other places such as Mau, Jaipur, Bijnore, Banda, Kargil though Ayodhya-Faizabad remains the epicenter.
The organization also paid tributes to Writer Muktibodh and film maker Mani Kaul by showing his film ‘Satah se Uncha Aadmi. This year is centenary of Khawaja Ahmed Abbas so Dharti Ke Laal was also screened.
Report filed by Syed S Tauheed.