Can Cinema become a driver of social change?


Graduation Project
M.Des 2018
Film & Video Communication

student social︎︎︎

In 2019, a protest broke out in the iron-ore mining site at Bailadila, Chattisgarh, when a hill earmarked by the government for excavation was met with resistance from local tribes as it was considered a shrine of the Earth Gods. I found this culture of valuing land and nature intriguing, and wanted to do a story around the same. In my film, the protagonist Linga, a 21-year-old young tribal whose family was evicted from their land during the Salwa Judum movement and father was killed in police firing, is taken under the wing of an activist who had filed a case against the government. Over the course of a day, circumstances have put Linga, a city-educated youth who dreamed of making things right for his community, in a position where he needs to decide if he should put the past behind and work with the government for the greater good and upliftment of his people.

I initially wanted to do a non-fictional study of a humanitarian crisis, but realised that it would take me a lot of time to reach a level of understanding with people whose language and lifestyle was different from mine. Since the characters went through things I had not experienced, I had to imagine and empathize with their situation and figure out their reactions, and then prepare detailed character studies. My only regret is rushing through pre-production and not rehearsing and planning each shot out in more detail. I hope people would be interested to read about the story’s background. Land grab and forceful evictions happen all the time, but the stories of the people are poorly documented, and such stories should be dealt with in different mediums to engage more people in conversation.

Environmentally aware policy-making is the need of the hour and as a designer and filmmaker, I would like my work to promote a sustainable future for the planet by experimenting with form, craft and storytelling. This project is a small step, and I hope to make the world a better, more peaceful place to live in for all.


  • The Burning Forest & Subalterns and Sovereigns by Nandini Sundar
  • Books by Mahashweta Devi
  • Films by Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalini and Mrinal Sen.