Cinema takes up the cause of environmental concerns,raising the alarm bell like never before
Theres a reason why the environment section at the ongoing Osian Film Festival is called 7.4. Serious for those following the global environmental debate,and curious for lay people who might confuse it with a web version. Actually,7.35-7.45 is the normal range for pH of blood sustaining human life. Count below or above this range spells trouble.
This year,Osians Cinefan has walked the green mile by turning the red carpet green and dedicating a section to environmental and heritage preservation. This is also a precursor of a summit on natural and man-made heritage,which by 2013,will translate into a new film festival dedicated to the subject.
Nature lovers will amble into the screening halls at Siri Fort to catch these films,starting with The Orange Suit by Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui,which dwells on the importance of preserving nature through cleanliness. The next few days will see influential short movies from Green Oscar-winner Mike Pandey s Riverbank Studios in Delhi and Shalahuddin Siregars The Land Beneath the Fog that follows the journey of farmers as they try to decipher the causes of climatic changes,to No Mans Zone by Toshi Fujiwara,among the first films to chronicle the coastal devastation following the 2011 earthquake in Japan.
Sunday morning had activists,filmmakers and policy makers pointing at the sharp decline in water levels and the need to make every drop count. Leading environment and economics expert from Pakistan,Mubashir Hasan; founder of Development Alternatives,Ashok Khosla; filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor; Magsaysay award winner and water conservationist Rajendra Singh; and former Secretary,Water Resources,Ramaswamy Iyer,raised the audiences curiosity with their insights.
Hasan,92 now,still remembers swimming in the Yamuna. For him,water has a spiritual,romantic and divine connection. It was worshipped before it but it was dammed,cut in canals,and made to change its course. It is dying,polluted and poisoned. he said,adding,Yamuna is a sewer,Sabarmati is dead,Ganga is no good.
On the other hand,Khosla lamented how women were the real victims of the water crisis since they have to travel miles to get water.