The script and the songs have been written. The locations have been chosen. The actors, including Vira Sathidar of Court fame, have begun warming up for the month-long shoot. The money needed for Jayanti is trickling in, thanks to the crowdfunding drive that is gathering steam on Facebook and WhatsApp. The release of the film has been scheduled for 7 April 2016, a week before Dr Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary. According to Nagpur-based Meliorist Films, “The anniversary celebrations are getting bigger and bigger every year, but ironically the thoughts of the champion of social justice are being ignored or manipulated day by day.” So, the film will reflect on our times and the relevance today of the visionary’s thoughts. “Educate, Organize and Agitate”, Dr Ambedkar used to say. Jayanti is sure to “educate”.
Many of us may call ourselves Ambedkarites yet remain blissfully ignorant of the radical and path-breaking ideas he espoused. The protagonist of Jayanti is, to start with, one of us, a self-proclaimed Ambedkarite. When confronted about the lightly carried label, though, he sets out to discover true Ambedkarism.
Shailesh Narwade has written the script and will be directing the film. He already has two short films, namely Ram (2008) and With And Without Water (2015), and three Hindi plays – The Selfish Game (1998), Mahatkritya (2000), and Bachate Raho (2015) – to his credit.
At the time of going to press, the crowdfunding drive had managed to raise 1.75 lakhs of 18-20 lakhs needed for the shoot. The entire production and the initial marketing will cost 50 lakhs. The funders could even be designated associate producer or co-producer depending on the sum they are able to commit to this important project.
“After actor and activist Vira Sathidar read the script, he turned down a few other offers just to do this film,” Narwade said. Vira Sathidar played the lead role in the film Court, which is representing India in the Oscars this year.