Circa 1980, the voice of the youth was heard talking excitedly about their future lives as doctors, engineers, lawyers and civil servants. The masses of the educated young gravitated towards secure and high paying professions, leaving behind a few who dared to swim against this tide.
Thirty years ago, only a daring few who believed in their dreams stepped away from the security of a corporate work life to the world of documentary film-making. A world devoid of the glamorous lure that Bollywood could offer, yet filled with ultimate satisfaction of having tried and maybe succeeded at sowing the seeds of change. Three decades down the line, attitudes have changed and the youth of India no longer hesitates to choose life away from what is expected of them. A change has come about in the decisions we take, for they are no longer limited to what is best for us.
Documentary film-making is attracting more and more students today than before. The growing influence of media and activists has caught our attention, leading us to rightly believe that we can bring about the beginning of change in our society and beliefs. Whether we choose to elaborate on basic rights offered to us by the constitution or go towards something as light hearted as commercial cinema, the freedom to tell our own and other’s stories through a lens has liberated the youth.
Such liberation has allowed the youth to become emphatically involved with issues of development, human rights, political activism and environmental concern through documentary films. The entire process of constructing such a film, from the initial research to acquiring footage and ultimately inspiring others to take part in the endeavour is attracting students just out of college in large numbers. We now believe ourselves to be not only capable shoulders who can do justice to a message, a cause and deliver it but also to influence others with our work.
Documentary film-making is providing the youth of our country with an ambition unlike any other. It naturally combines the core of social work with the more outspoken and media-centric nature of activism. The prospect of sourcing material and shaping it by oneself, with the help of peers as dedicated, enthuses the emerging idealists like nothing else quite does. Given a chance to move out into the sophisticated secrets of urban culture, the traditional practices in the rural and everything else that lies in between, a generation has learnt to rebel and reform.
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