A Unique Premiere For An Unusual Film
By Ali Peter John, 19 October 2012
An overcrowded audience of politicians from different parts of the country in an unprecedented and unanimous move made a request to writer-producer-director Sanjiv Jaiswal to screen his unusual film, Shudra - The Rising at the PVR in Juhu. The interest shown by the politicians led the PVR authorities in Juhu to change the timing of the screening of different films being screened in the theatre. Karan Johar, who was to have the press show of his film, Student Of The Year, had to delay the show for more than an hour. Amongst the leaders were two men specially sent by the young General Secretary of the Congress party and some close and distant relatives of Dr B.R Ambedkar on whose struggle to fight for rights of the Harijans (Shudras) Jaiswal's film, Shudra - The Rising is based.
The film had to face a grim struggle with the Censors who finally agreed to give it a U/A certificate. The promos of the film also had to face the wrath of the Censors and Jaiswal fought his case before the Censors till he managed to get the trailer of the film released. It was this trailer that had caught the attention of politicians, social activists and others, who are still leading a continuous crusade to save the Harijans, who are still being made victims of various kinds of humiliation in the country, which led some of the leaders like Mr. Gopinath Munde, the leader of the BJP and several MLAs and MPs from the Congress and NCP to show their interest in seeing the film.
The show was held without an interval and not one of the leaders left their seats till the very end, which comes with a rousing anthem as a tribute to Dr. Ambedkar. The leaders, who normally wait for just a few minutes as a formality stayed on even after the film was over and mingled with Jaiswal and his unit and praised Jaiswal for the daring and different film he had made. The film is creating all kinds of situations all over the country with the Harijans, who have been sending messages in support to Jaiswal during the last 20 days and the director has received more than one and a half lakh messages, some of which are so strong in their support that they even promised to give up their lives if the theatre owners did not take interest in screening the film.
The film goes back into ancient time when Harijans were treated in the most barbaric and inhuman conditions and also portrays the present day scenario when Dalits and Harijans are still being made victims of the worst kind of cruelty not only in the interiors but also in high places in modern society.
Jaiswal did his research on the subject for more than two years and has made the film with a whole bunch of people, who has never faced the camera before. His entire team of technicians is also full of first-timers. The film has aroused curiosity in the media, especially the regional media, which has blown the film to new heights with the various cover stories and other ways of supporting the film. The common man has been calling Jaiswal’s office asking for details about the theatres and multiplexes showing the film. Shudra - The Rising was released all over India on Friday and it was difficult to believe how crowds of people thronged the theatres all over the country. There were cases of skirmishes and fights and some theatres even had to seek police protection. The film faced overwhelming support from the lower classes and strident criticism from the other classes of society. The next few days will be quite interesting because at no other time has the lower classes of post-independent India shown so much intense interest in a film, which reflects their roots and the history of their struggle till they were saved by Dr. Ambedkar, or that is what they firmly believe.