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Issue No.: 573 | March 2015

‘Nehruvian Ideology and the Indian Celluloid’ Report on a Film Festival in a Mumbai College

Mithilaa Naik-Satam
The Filmfest was to commemorate the 125th Birth Anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru

The Departments of Politics and History of the SIES College of Arts Science and Commerce a leading institution in Mumbai organised a successful film festival on ‘Nehruvian Ideology and the Indian Celluloid’ on 23 and 24 January 2015 to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The festival was received with great enthusiasm by students and professors from other leading City Colleges like as Ruia, Mithibai, Vaze, Sathaye, Khalsa, and Kirti Colleges.

The Film Festival’s aim was to highlight the Nehruvian era and his vision as for India during a significant period of Indian history. The movies screened during the festival – Awara, Naya Daur, Mother India, Pyaasa, Namak Haraam, Do Bigha Zamin, Manthan and Chak De India – reflected diverse aspects of Pandit Nehru’s ideology and the paradigm shift that took place in after freedom.

Many mainstream filmmakers in the early years after India’s independence were impacted by the optimism of Nehru. Raj Kapoor’s ‘Awara’ and B. R. Chopra’s ‘Naya Daur’ were critical of the present but were extremely optimistic of the future.

Pyaasa, a critique, shows the souring of the Nehruvian dream. It casts aspersions on the hopes and dreams that Nehru wanted. Guru Dutt attempted to express the industrialising society’s degenerative impact on the people and in this particular case, on free thinkers and artists.

Chak De! India’ showcases the spirit and power of unity. It echoes the problems Nehru and Sardar Patel
faced in integrating and unifying the country and shows how differences can be overcome through effective leadership which in turn will facilitate success. 

The Festival was inaugurated by the well-known screenwriter Anjum Rajabali. He said "Nehru was instrumental in the establishment of the Films Division in the I & B Ministry and the International Film Festival after Independence. The first generation of film makers and actors, just like the rest of the country, were inspired by Nehru. They were filled with hope and optimism and made films which reflected the same.”

Dr. Rashmi Bhure, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, Convenor of the Festival said, "After the horrific experience of partition and the socio-economic milieu of India in the post-independence period there was a possibility of internal turmoil. Nehru’s idealism, his idea of India and faith in democratic values created an era of hope that was then needed for a young free India. The fundamentals laid by Nehru helped India in gradually emerging as a developing nation and this is apparent in the Indian cinema of the 1950’s and 60’s. We have attempted to unveil this significant period of Indian history and Nehru’s ideology to the present generation through this Film Festival.”

Nehru substituted the ideal of socialist society with the term socialist pattern of society which was described as a mixed economy with space for both the private and public sectors. He wanted India to be self-reliant, not just self-sufficient.

After the screenings on the second day, two panel discussions were held on ‘Nehruvian Socialism and its Impact on Indian Cinema’ and ‘Relevance of Nehruvian Ideology Today’. Medha Dhapre, Assistant Professor, Kirti College and Dr. Santhosh Pathare, General Secretary of Prabhat Chitra Mandal, adjudged the event.

Dr. Vanita Banjan, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, SIES College Convenor, in her concluding remarks said: ”The idea of development as understood by Nehru involved development at the lowest rung. This idea is relevant even today: The citizenry need not wait for the government to take action, if their own initiative can bring about more growth and development.”

REPORT BY MITHILAA NAIK-SATAM, (Organiser of the Festival 
and student First Year BA (Political Science), SIES College of Arts and Science, Mumbai.





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