To promote “nationalism and Indian ethos” in West Bengal, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will organise a short film festival in Kolkata. Increasing public awareness of Hindutva, the cornerstone of Indian ethos, will be “a key objective,” RSS sources told The Hindu.
However, Hindutva is not “officially mentioned” as the theme of the festival titled Manush Chai.
Biplab Roy, RSS Pranta Prachar Pramukh of Dakshin Banga (South Bengal), said the festival was inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s ideal of humanity. “We called for submission of short films in early February and have received 50 applications so far. We will accept submissions till March 31,” he said. The festival — organised by Vishwa Samvad Kendra, the media wing of the RSS — is expected to be held in April.
Each film will have a running time of 10 minutes, including opening and closing titles. There will be a panel of judges to select the winners in the categories of fiction, non-fiction, animation, drama and docudrama. “We are also considering financial rewards for the winners,” the sources said.
RSS functionaries said one of the primary objectives was to remind Bengal’s people of the “true Indian ethos as it is not projected in mainstream films.” “The festival will uphold Indian nationalism with a humane touch by focusing on acts of charity by the common people,” they said.
In his take on the plan, National award winning film-maker Goutam Ghose said: “As long as the contents abide by the principles of democracy and the Constitution, there is nothing wrong with the festival.”
Mainak Bhaumik, one of the commercially successful directors, said: “There has always been a subtle undercurrent of morality in popular Indian cinema. It remains to be seen whether the contents of the festival are against the values of secularism.”
The festival will also focus on the use of digital devices, like smart-phones, for film-shooting.
The Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative is the “way forward,” an RSS leader said. “Since the digital mode of shooting has become predominant in the Indian film industry, we will focus on it in the festival,” he said.