NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has announced the winners of its 8th Short Film Competition on human rights, selecting Marathi short film ‘Chirbhog’ for the first prize of Rs 2 lakh. ‘Enabled’ in Assamese and ‘Atcham Thanvir’ in Tamil have been awarded the second and third prizes of Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively.
The NHRC’s Short Film Competition, which is held annually, aims to encourage filmmakers to create short films that highlight various human rights issues. This year’s competition saw a total of 182 entries from across the country, covering topics such as child labour, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and more.
According to the NHRC press released, The first prize-winning Marathi short film ‘Chirbhog’, directed by Nilesh Ambedkar, is a powerful portrayal of a family living in a remote village in India, struggling to make ends meet. The film highlights the issue of poverty and how it impacts the basic human rights of individuals and their families.
The second prize-winning Assamese short film ‘Enabled’, directed by Debashis Gogoi, focuses on the issue of accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities. The film follows the story of a young girl who is visually impaired and her struggles to access education and other basic amenities.
The third prize-winning Tamil short film ‘Atcham Thanvir’, directed by M. Jagadeesan, sheds light on the issue of police brutality and extra-judicial killings in India. The film follows the story of a young man who is falsely accused of a crime and tortured by the police.
According to the statement, the film highlights the caste and vocation based continued discrimination in society through the story of a boy and his humiliating struggles till the point he decides to stand up and expose the contradictions in theory and practice to ensure the rights of liberty, equality, dignity, and education. It is in Marathi with subtitles in English.
‘Enabled’ by Mrs. Bhawani Doley Tahu has been selected for the Second prize of Rs. 1.5 lakh. The film, through the story of a differently abled child, emphasizes the need to change mindsets about Divyangjan and discrimination in their upbringing by parents undermining their rights to life, liberty, equality, and dignity. It is in the Assamese language with subtitles in English.
‘Atcham Thavir’ by Mr. T. Kumar has been selected for the Third prize of Rs. 1 lakh. The film through the story of a girl student pitches in for building awareness among students about any inappropriate touch and sexual harassment in school and the need for the teachers as well as the school administration to be vigilant about it to ensure their right to dignity and education are not violated. It is in Tamil with subtitles in English.
The Commission has also decided to give a cash award of Rs.50,000/- each to the films selected for the ‘Certificate of Special Mention’. The three films in this category are:
1. ‘Lost of progress’ by Rajdutt Revankar depicts how the overarching expectations of parents from their children to make them all-rounders is creating unwarranted pressure and robbing them of natural growth. It is in Hindi with subtitles in English.
2. ‘Don’t Burn Leaves’ by Er. Abdul Rashid Bhat is a documentary highlighting the problem of air pollution due to the burning of dry leaves and the scientific method to dispose of these without affecting the environment. It is in English.
3. ‘U-Turn’ by Haril Shukla depicts the double standard of society in dealing with the problems of domestic violence against women. It is in Hindi with subtitles in English.
The Full Commission, chaired by the NHRC Chairperson, Justice Arun Mishra comprising Members, Dr. Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay and Rajiv Jain, selected the award-winning films. The other members of the Full Commission Jury included NHRC Secretary General, Devendra Kumar Singh, Director General (I), Manoj Yadava, Registrar (Law), Surajit Dey, Joint Secretaries, Anita Sinha & Devendra Kumar Nim, Dy. Director (M&C), Jaimini Kr. Srivastava and External Experts, Leeladhar Mandloi, documentary maker and former DG AIR & Doordarshan, and Prof. Sangeeta Pranvendra, Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
The aim of the NHRC Short Film Award Scheme is to encourage and acknowledge cinematic and creative efforts toward the promotion and protection of human rights. A total of 123 short films were in the fray for the awards.
The Commission intends to organize a festival of award-winning films and the award ceremony sometime later.
The NHRC has commended all the filmmakers for their efforts in creating films that raise awareness about various human rights issues. The Commission has also urged filmmakers to continue creating films that can inspire change and bring about a more just and equitable society.