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News Hindi Nagaland

3 PSBT films win at 12th Kerala documentary and short film festival


Janani’s Juliet by Pankaj Rishi Kumar and Moti Bagh by Nirmal Chander shared the Best Long Documentary award while Longra by Sankha received the Best Cinematography award.

A stlll from the documentary Longra, which won an award for Best Cinematography at the festival

Our Correspondent

Three films produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) have received awards at the 12th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala.

Janani’s Juliet by Pankaj Rishi Kumar and Moti Bagh by Nirmal Chander shared the Best Long Documentary award while Longra by Sankha received the Best Cinematography award. The festival was held from 21–26 June 2019 at Thiruvananthapuram.

An alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune with a specialization in film editing, Pankaj Rishi Kumar has become a one-man crew, producing, directing, shooting and editing his films which have been screened at festivals the world over.

Janani’s Juliet explores the ways in which the production by a theatre group enmeshes with contemporary realities.

Deeply disturbed by a spate of honour killings, Indianostrum, a Pondicherry-based theatre group, sets out to introspect about the implications of caste, class and gender. The group adapts Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to its story. What emerges is a critical reflection and commentary on the contemporary world, where love struggles to survive.

Nirmal Chander’s film Moti Bagh, which shared the Best Long Documentary award with Janani’s Juliet, traces the life of 83-year-old Vidyadutt Sharma, who has nurtured Moti Bagh, his five-acre farm in a small Himalayan village. Around him are 7,000 ghost villages, chilling testimony to large-scale migration by locals in search of employment.

Chronicling the changing landscape in verses of resistance, Vidyadutt Sharma and Ram Singh, his Nepali farm hand, plough the fields and keep them alive, hoping to return Moti Bagh to its old glory.

Chander is an award-winning filmmaker who has been working for over two decades as producer, director, cinematographer, researcher, scriptwriter and editor of documentary films.

The winner of the Navroze Contractor award for Best Documentary Cinematography was Sourabh Kanti Dutta for the film Longra, which explores Jhum, or shifting cultivation, that has been an integral part of the Naga way of living, now considered environmentally unviable. In 2010, Longra, a small progressive village of the Chang tribe in Tuensang district, decided to walk a different path.

The awards are a big win for PSBT, which has mentored and supported more than 500 independent filmmakers and continues to encourage independent filmmaking in the country.