Saturday evening at IIMA was extra special with Public Policy and MAD Club organising a screening of Deswa. Deswa is a critically acclaimed Bhojpuri movie that has been screened across many film festivals in Asia. The movie is directed by Nitin Chandra – a young filmmaker who has been making films for social causes since 2008. Produced by his sister and popular actress, Neetu Chandra, the movie has found it hard to find the light of the day to have a mainstream release.
Set in Bihar, it is the story of two young men, whose lives are altered drastically by the circumstances they encounter in their life – dowry, caste-ism, bribery, corruption, extortion, Naxalism etc. Deswa highlights the problems that had plagued the region – rich in culture, traditions, languages – in the past. The movie provided an insight into how policy making affects people at the grass root levels. The movie was an engrossing watch and culminated in a standing ovation for the cast and the crew of the movie. Nallasivan, the co-ordinator of Public Policy said “The movie depicted a Bihar that was different from the commonly prevalent stereotype that has been showcased so far. The ending also captured how Bihar has started its journey to move away from the ‘Bimaru’ state that it was in the past”.
The screening saw the cast and crew of the movie – Director Nitin Chandra, Producer Neetu Chandra, Music Director Ashutosh Singh and one of the lead actors, Deepak Singh. The movie was followed by a discussion session where the crew recounted their experiences and difficulties while making the movie and the reasons for making a movie about one of the most neglected states in the past. In the words of Shrinivas, a member of Public Policy: “The discussion that followed was enlightening as they shared their continuing struggles in order to have a mainstream release for the movie. It was interesting to see what the director had in mind while scripting the movie.”
The moviemakers also reflected on how Bhojpuri movies were fast losing out to mainstream Hindi cinema and suggested policy changes that could help in promotion of independent regional cinema.