Went to two film festivals; the first, "Aranyam" was a first-time effort by ActNow, a magazine for socially committed people. Like all first-time efforts, it was a bit chaotic..none of the films scheduled for screening the first day were shown; Sandesh Kadur's "Sahaydris: Mountains of the Monsoon", a very beautiful film, was shown instead. The panel discussion later, with Dr Suresh Heblikar, Sandesh and others, was also not riveting... Poor ActNow, the Bangalore bundh also threw a spanner in their works the next day! I was deeply disturbed by the PETA film shown earlier, which in gut-wrenching, graphic detail, showed how animals are butchered while hung upside down ---and alive....for commerce. Even dogs and cats are killed like this. I was thankful that I have given up leather long ago.
Yesterday, went for the evening screenings of "Vatavaran", organized by Centre for Media Studies. Found that most of the audience were from journalism schools, and seemed intent on the film and its making, not its content.The first movie, by Nina Subramani, was on the ecological damage perpetrated by many corporates. I found it disturbing that Nina was asked if she got the "other side" of the story, that is, the officials' viewpoint. She replied, "As far as I am concerned, there is NO other side." I found this a little disturbing..surely, to balance things out, one must get the "other" point of view, too (sometimes that point of view is so absurd that it can actually bolster up one's argument!)
The second film was on one of my pet subjects, Urban Cycling! But it was all taken in Ahmedabad, and I wanted to get up say, I have been cycling here for the past three years, and things have only become more unsafe for cyclists in Bangalore....but there was NO discussion after that movie, or after the third film, which was on the killing of whale sharks in India's western coasts (this movie apparently resulted in whale sharks being put on the endangered list).
I came away with the feeling that we HAVE laws to protect the environment and animals in India...but they are never enforced....contrary to Nina's feeling of hope, I left with a feeling of melancholy. These film festivals do their best, but it is so little in a sea of "so much to be done". However, each of us can do what we can...not use leather, use the cycle, keep signing petitions...and faintly, hope that there will be some change in the sea of apathy that surrounds us.