Anand Patwardhan’s ‘Reason’ wins best documentary award at IDFA

The documentary deals with the declining secular spirit of India


November 29, 2018

/ By / Kolkata

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Veteran film maker, Anand Patwardhan

Veteran film maker Anand Patwardhan

Anand Patwardhan’s four hour and twenty minutes long documentary, ‘Reason’ dealing with the declining secularism in India, wins the Best Feature-Length Documentary award at the 31st International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.

Anand Patwardhan’s new documentary, ‘Reason’ (the Hindi title is, Vivek) won the Best Feature Length Documentary award at the International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA). The film festival that started on November 14 and ended on November 25, showcased more than 300 films, sold more than 250,000 tickets and welcomed about 3,000 guests.

The heart of the film

In a length that is close to four and a half hours – unusually long for a film of its genre–Reason examines the dwindling sense of secularism in the current day Indian society through the news headlines and bullet points of major publications in the recent years. The events documented in the film include the high profile murders of rationalists such as Abhinav Bharat and Sanathan Sanstha; the numerous attacks on the Muslim and Dalit sections of the society, initiated in the name of cow protection; the endeavours undertaken to change the country’s history; the mainstreaming of radical Hindu ideology; the attacks on students protesting in their universities and the attempts within the government and outside of it -amongst the ruling party’s supporters–to turn India into a Hindu state.

The official summary of ‘Reason’ claims that the film presents, “empirical evidence of what is happening to India today” and added, “The overall argument of the film is made more gradually as we understand the ideological forces that have been at play for centuries.”

Payal Kapadia’s ‘And What is The Summer Saying’ which provides a poetic perspective to the life in a village in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri Hills won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Short Documentary.

A still from 'Reason'

A still from ‘Reason’

Unanimous acclaim

According to the film festival’s official website, Patwardhan’s film was chosen unanimously by the jury for the top prize for its “epic storytelling of the rise of the far right in one of the most populated countries on this planet, the violence of religious and ultra-nationalist militias with the support of authorities and dominant medias, the dignity of resistance in multiple forms, often at life-cost, in a way that acknowledges the complexity of the situation but put it in a very understandable shape”.

The film premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September, soon after the raids on and the arrests of activists and intellectuals on the flimsy charges of being advocates of a Maoist conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and taking over the country.

Patwardhan’s documentary film making credits include ‘Waves of Revolution’ (1971), ‘Ram Ke Naam’ (1992), ‘Father, Son, and Holy War’ (1995) and ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’ (2012).

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