Film by FTII alumnus hopes to change lives of cannabis growers in Kullu
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One of the many odds that the film, Bom - One day ahead of Democracy, faced was to convince government agencies in Himachal Pradesh, particularly in Kullu, to help the people of Malana lead an alternative and sustainable lifestyle. The film that portrayed how the livelihood of people of Malana was devastated after the government banned growing of cannabis, citing its use as an illegal drug, has finally managed to get its way to the decision makers — a breakthrough that could finally bring about the change the film desired.
Impressed by the message the film intends to deliver, the Kullu police will be holding a special screening of the film for senior bureaucrats, politicians, judges and other officials on April 5 — a development the filmmaker, Amlan Datta, considers significant.
According to Datta, the Kullu superintendent of police approached him some time back asking for a copy of the film. "He saw the film and called me over the next day and told me that it would be nice if a screening of the film could be arranged for the officials so that they can sit down to working on the problem that Malana faces," said Datta, a 1997-batch student of cinematography at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
Though Datta shot the film between 2007 and 2009 in Malana, the responsibility of the filmmaker in him did not end with mere screening, he says. "These people in Malana belonged to a centuries-old civilisation with their own language, cultures and ways of living. This was all being threatened with the invasion of modernity. The ban on cultivation of cannabis took away the basic livelihood of these people. The fact that government officials have now at least started looking at these people with an aim to help them is encouraging," he adds.