Documentary on Kankaria lake wins award

A documentary film about poor residents of Maninagar, Khokhra and Behrampura being "gated out" of Kankaria lake by Rs 10 entry pass collected by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has won a prize at a film festival hosted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.

National Institute of Design (NID) student Prachee Bajania, who directed the film, "Vikas Chaalu Chhe" (or, development is happening), describes it thus; "The lake saw daily wage labourers who came here after a hard day's work, early morning joggers, lovers who wanted to avoid the public eye and dream many dreams of togetherness, children who grew up playing at Balvatika and the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden and just about anyone who wanted to walk around the lake to forget the travails of the day.

"All of this was brought to an end as the AMC launched its Kankaria Lake Front Development project. Besides works for cleaning and the beautification of the lake, this project also brought with it a gate which only allowed in those who could pay 10 rupees."

Bajania's film was awarded the silver (1st runner up) prize in the documentary section and gold (winner) for editing at TISS's Cut In Fest this past weekend.

The jury's citation reads, "The film sharply foregrounds the issue of commercialisation of public space by the state in pursuit of its political agenda. A well researched film that weaves together various strands to make a powerful case of people's rights to their traditional spaces of leisure."

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