Film-maker, producer and actor Prakash Jha believes that the current scenario is not just pan-Indian, but a pan-international phenomenon
Filmmaker, producer and actor Prakash Jha have always made a statement with his films. Be it Gangajal, Rajneeti or any of his works that number close to 20, all his films have stood head and shoulders above the rest that the Hindi filmdom has churned out. Talk to him about the work he has been doing over the past few decades, and he says he has constantly been on the lookout for stories from the real world to narrate on screen.
In an exclusive chat with Reba Ayaz for the Sugar-Milk-Salt video series on Digpu, Jha says that the current scenario in the socio-political arena is not just a pan-Indian phenomenon, rather a pan-international one. Majoritarianism is the order of the day, he stresses, talking of instances that have been happening not just in India but the US, Europe and elsewhere too.
People take advantage of issues such as caste, communalism and the like. The situation has existed always. Such things owe themselves to the electoral democracy as numbers do count. This has been the case always, he says, adding that there has been a fall in secular values around us.
Talking of his filmmaking ventures, Jha says he believes that actors need not be managed on the sets. “Actors have to do their jobs, and I try to get my job done,” he adds.
Prakash Jha brings a social commitment to his works
Prakash Jha’s social commitment has significantly shown up in the films he has made. He won his first major award for a documentary he made soon after the communal violence in Bihar Sharif had happened. The trigger for the documentary, titled ‘Faces After Storm’ came about when he saw BBC airing a story on the riots with the title ‘In the Hindu State of Bihar, Muslims are Being Butchered’. This in fact shook his conscience and he set out to place where the clashes had happened. He met with people at Bihar Sharif and made the documentary.
However, the government-released documentary was banned by the government itself soon after it was made However, it also won a National Award. Faces After Storm won the Silver Lotus for Best Documentary in 1982, a Special Jury Award at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 1983 and also the Filmfare award for Best Documentary in the same year.
Those who have watched Jha’s films would agree with the social commitment he brings on to the screen. Be it with known stars or otherwise, these films carry strong social messages that are immensely relevant.
My aim is to learn something new every day, says Jha
Jha has also made sure that he is committed to the well-being of fellow human beings. Anubhooti, the NGO he has floated, takes up work in arenas of healthcare and education, apart from extending a helping hand to the needy. “Anubhooti primarily intends to help everyone,” Jha says.
Talking about his work over the years, Prakash Jha states that his aim is to learn something new every day. “The idea is to keep growing, to do new things,” he concludes.
Watch full interview on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ha2-hIMQjEo