Date:12/07/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/07/12/stories/2008071250820200.htm
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New Delhi

Documentary on Bhagat Singh

Madhur Tankha



Bhagat Singh

NEW DELHI: To pay tribute to one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Independence movement, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is screening a special documentary on Shaheed Bhagat Singh at its Teen Murti Bhawan premises here this Sunday.

Produced by Gauhar Raza, a scientist, poet and well-known documentary filmmaker, the 40-minute film has been made in collaboration with the non-profit organisation, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD).

The documentary begins by tracking the events that unfolded immediately after the famous 1857 War of Independence that set the stage for shaping the future of the restless youth of the country.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his associates were born when the country and indeed the entire world was going through a period of great upheaval. The documentary weaves through the turning points to re-construct Bhagat Singh’s dream of a free, egalitarian, socialist and multi-cultural India.

Narrated by nonagenarian actor Zohra Segal, the documentary is punctuated by articulate lines of historians Bipan Chandra, K.N. Pannikar and Irfan Habib, journalist Kuldip Nayar and artist Arpana Kaur.

Sharing the experience of shooting the documentary over the past six months, Gauhar Raza says: “As I couldn’t travel to Pakistan to shoot Bhagat Singh’s place of birth and other places, I contacted Saleema Hashmi, daughter of the famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. She helped me out by putting some people on the job. Later I got a cassette in which there are pictures of the place station in which Sanders was shot dead and other places which Bhagat Singh used to frequent.”

Historical Insight

Stating that it was a daunting task to locate the residence of an elite family in Kolkata where Bhagat Singh had put up, Gauhar Raza says: “Chhajju Ram was a rich man in Kolkata who had many havelis. Bhagat Singh stayed at the residence of one of his acquaintances who used to teach Chhajju Ram’s daughter. To make the film on Bhagat Singh I am grateful to a number of people, especially Irfan Habib, who has done a Ph.D. on the great revolutionary. He gave me the historical insight.”

Well-researched

According to Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Director Mridula Mukherjee, the documentary is based on meticulous research. “It has also creatively used rare documents as visual shots at various available repositories. Visuals have also been shot in Lahore, Kolkata, Kanpur, Amritsar and Delhi.”

Bollywood actor Rahul Bose will release the digital video disc of the documentary.Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Vice-Chairman Karan Singh will be the chief guest on the occasion. Former Prime Minister I. K. Gujral will be one of the distinguished invitees.

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