Documentary addresses issues of race, religion and genocide
(March 15, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y.–The director of the film “Final Solution” will be on hand to address questions and give commentary after a screening of his film. Set in Gujarat, India, the film documents the changing face of right-wing politics in India through a study of the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director, Rakesh Sharma. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
The film examines the aftermath of the deadly violence that followed the burning of 58 Hindus on the Sabarmati Express train at Godhra on Feb. 27, 2002. In reaction to that incident, some 2,500 Muslims were brutally murdered, hundreds of women raped, and more than 200,000 families driven from their homes.
Sharma began his film/TV career in 1986 as an assistant director on Shyam Benegal's Discovery of India. His broadcast industry experience includes the set up/ launch of three broadcast channels in India: Channel [V], Star Plus and Vijay TV and several production consultancy assignments. He has now gone back to independent documentary film-making. His last film “Aftershocks: The Rough Guide to Democracy” won the Best Documentary Film award at Fribourg, Big Mini-DV and at Big Muddy and won seven other awards (including the Robert Flaherty prize) at various festivals in the U.S. and Europe during 2002-03. It has been screened at over 90 international film festivals. He appears at Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the support of the Young Memorial Trust.
“This is a difficult documentary particularly relevant to the current juncture, where there is an urgency to be more aware of the problematic and complex relationship between politics and religion,” says Kanchana Ruwanpura, assistant professor of economics and one of the professors instrumental in bringing the film to campus. “This awareness, we hope, will contribute to impress upon the viewers the need to respect and tolerate religious and ethnic communities – not just in South Asia but also in our own home-ground.”