Filmmaker Nagdeve wins director’s award at Dalit film fest in New York
NAGPUR: City-based filmmaker Subodh Nagdeve was among the three filmmakers to receive the Director’s award at the Dalit Film and Cultural Festival held in New York on February 23-24. Nagdeve got the award for his film ‘Bole India Jai Bhim’ which was screened at the festival. The other two directors were Nagraj Manjule for Marathi film ‘Fandry’ and Pa Ranjith’s ‘Kaala’ in Tamil.
“My film generated a lot of curiosity and the audience asked me questions about its subject,” Nagdeve, who returned from US two days back, told TOI. The film is based on the life of Babu Hardas LN, an associate of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Hardas was also the first MLA to be elected from Nagpur Kamptee constituency in 1937. “Very few have heard about Hardas and so many in the US asked me if he was the son of Dr Ambedkar,” Nagdeve says.
The first Dalit Film Festival was organized by US Ambedkarites, and Dr Ambedkar International Mission, in association with University of Columbia. It was at Columbia University that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar received his doctorate in economics in 1927. He was also awarded a honorary degree by the university in 1952 for his path-breaking work in the sphere of human rights and social reforms.
Six films and six documentaries either made by Dalit filmmakers or focusing on plights of Dalits in the society were screened.
One entry was from Nepal. The screenings were done at the Barnard College of Columbia University, and the event was inaugurated by Counsel General Sandip Chakarvarty.
The festival was an initiative to provide a platform to Dalit artists to showcase their talent at the international level. “I was asked this question how would this event impact the film and I told them that it will give exposure which would be impossible to get in India,” Nagdeve said. Speaking of the Dalits, Nagdeve also told his US audience, “Dalit is not a term specific to India. It addresses the oppressed class and every country around the world has a section of society which is struggling to be heard.
Not just India but films that speak about oppression should be screened at this festival.”
Defining the purpose of the festival as that of encouraging Dalit filmmakers and highlight plight of Dalits, Nagdeve says many expats gave him subjects to make film and offered finance too. “There too they face a lot of discrimination and racism, and want this to be highlighted,” adds the director, who now plans to make films keeping in mind the international audience.