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Capturing a political revolution

A work-in-progress documentary produced by Anand Gandhi looks at the birth of a political party

Ritika Bhatia 

In November 2012, and Vinay Shukla, collaborators on the film Ship of Theseus and young film makers from Mumbai, (“Which is to say that for the most part I have been as far removed from politics as possible,” quips Ranka) came to Delhi out of sheer curiosity about the anti-corruption movement spreading its arms within the capital. The idea was to engage with politics on the ground level with a “fly-on-the wall approach”. What followed was a look at the birth and working of the

Begun as a personal project, the on the party was filmed for a year till the Delhi elections. It is now in post-production stage. The film makers are editing over 400 hours of footage into a 100-minute titled Proposition for a Revolution, produced by “At first, conversations and debates would abound on daily playbacks with friends, until slowly and steadily, it began to dawn on us that the story really was much bigger than what we had anticipated,” says Shukla. “We realised that it wasn’t just our friends who were having these debates; everybody was talking politics. Everybody had an opinion. And everybody had questions, just like we did. That’s when we realised that we could make a film here which would contribute to this dialogue.”

Vinay Shukla
Vinay Shukla
After winning the IDFA Bertha Fund for documentaries, all resources, contacts and efforts were pooled in to streamline the storyline. The attempt has been to “break through the clutter of second-hand media opinions” to present a hands-on view of the country’s youngest political party. “We wanted to look inwards at our institutions, the idea of democracy and how the person on the street relates to this,” says Ranka.

Ranka and Shukla were allowed access into grassroot campaigns and manifesto meetings where outsiders usually weren’t, and their shooting techniques focussed on capturing the political process by blending into the background. However, requests to other parties for such access proved futile. “We wanted to expand the canvas of the film to include other parties and we approached them too,” says Ranka. “It would have been great to show the contrast between different war rooms, how one party combats the other. But we didn’t get permissions. However, we did shoot public events of other parties.” While Arvind may be the face of the party, according to the general population, she goes on to explain how their focus “is on the process, not the person.”

The trailer for the film released last week with a global pitch to crowdfund its post-production through the website After achieving 20,000 views and 10 per cent of the target funds within the first couple of days itself, Ranka and Shukla are hoping to release the film in theatres later this year.

Khushboo Ranka
Proposition for a Revolution reminds one of Jehane Noujaim’s Oscar-nominated The Square which took a compelling look at the protests at Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Ranka and Shukla too see their film as attempting to present an “honest, neutral, unbiased and hopefully insightful” view of the anti-corruption movement that gave way to by capturing on camera the rhetoric of its leaders in the party’s day-to-day functioning as well as conversations with supporters. “The word proposition allows the space for something that is still changing, inconclusive. And it also allows space for something that is idealistic, the idea of a revolution. This is what we hope our film will communicate by contributing to the political discourse in the country,” say the two.

First Published: Sat, April 12 2014. 00:19 IST