After Dubai, Battle for Banaras, the controversial documentary about elections in Narendra Modi’s constituency is now headed to Paris. The film is in competition at the prestigious 38th Cinema Du Reel Film Festival (), one of the most respected documentary film festivals in the world.
“As a filmmaker I want to share the film with audiences around the world and I look forward to the film’s screening in Paris, “says Kamal Swaroop who will be attending the screening. “It is a great honour to be playing in the international competition section along side great documentaries from around the world,” he says.
Battle for Banaras is one of the 11 films chosen for the international competition section. It will be competing against films like The Dreamed Ones (directed by Ruth Backerman) which is currently playing at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival; Days of Future Buddhas, a Russian documentary that was shot between 1988 and 1993 and like Battle of Banaras was also banned in Russia and Marco Santarelli’s Duster, which is set in a prison library and pitches a group of Muslim inmates into a discussion about what the concept of a constitution means to them among others.
“While the Indian audiences continue to be denied the pleasure of watching Kamal Swaroop’s masterful documentary, the film continues its march to win rave reviews and praise at international film festivals,” says Manu Kumarann, the producer of the film, who has challenged the censor board ban and filed an appeal with the Appellate Tribunal. “The censor board is suffocating the voice of independent filmmakers because of its political leaning and raising a question mark on India’s credential as a vibrant, liberal democracy. We hope to receive a favourable ruling from the tribunal,” says Kumarann who has produced films with Hollywood directors like Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, The Other Woman) in the past.
Shot on 4K over a period of 44 days during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Battle for Banaras, inspired by Nobel laureate Elias Canetti's book, 'Crowds and Power', captures the excitement, the madness and the noise behind the high-octane poll battle in the holy city of Banaras, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency.