"Sold" A Documentary on Trafficking Premieres in New Delhi, Evokes Mixed Response from the Viewers and the Media

"Documentary filmmaking is still under developed art form in India”- Gyaneshwar Dayal, the Maker of "Sold"


New Delhi, India -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/04/2017 -- A documentary on Trafficking was premiered in New Delhi, on 20th November 2017, which uncovers some disturbing facts about our society. It is a film by documentary filmmaker Gyaneshwar Dayal who finished the film after two long years. The film is in English and is titled "Sold". It is 45 minutes in length. It was two years in making and was completed after filming in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi. The film unearths some inconvenient truths about our society and its approach to trafficking.

Speaking at the occasion Mr. Kirity Roy, the veteran social worker who is General Secretary of Masum, lauded the efforts in bringing out the hidden truth by the filmmaker. He said that the film unveils the truth which is a grim reality for hundreds and thousands of people. However, not much is being done by law enforcement agencies to tackle the menace.

The menace of trafficking is immense in this part of the world as thousands of girls are trafficked from bordering areas of West Bengal. These girls find themselves locked in dark damp cubicles for rest of their lives in the brothels of Delhi and Mumbai and other places. The subhuman conditions they are forced to go through are captured in the film.

Gyaneshwar Dayal who also scripted the film said "filming "Sold" was a sad experience as there was nothing good about the locations and people we met and filmed." The film would be going to film festivals in New York and Berlin.

Gyaneshwar Dayal the documentary filmmaker is known for making path-breaking documentaries which have won accolades from across the world. His documentaries like "Terminated childhood", on Bhopal Gas victims, "Persona Non-Grata" on Indo Bangladesh enclaves and "Muktidayani" on the killing of river Ganga have been widely praised. On the sidelines, he talked about the film and his take on the art of making documentary films in India. Here are the excerpts of his interview with the daily Jan Express.

JE: Could you tell us why you chose to make the film on trafficking?

Gyaneshwar: Well one reason is not too many people talk about it so I thought I should bring the subject to fore. If there is a problem and we do not address it, it is going to grow even bigger and bigger and that is what is happening with trafficking which has snowballed into such a big problem.

JE: Your film talks about the problem but is silent on the solution. Why so?

Gyaneshwar: Well, it is easy to tell everyone what to do. Giving sermons is perhaps the easiest thing to do. I just wanted to bring out the plight of the girls whose lives have been ruined by traffickers. Some of them may well be dead and others continue to live miserable lives. It is something for the society and the government and different NGOs to think how to fight this menace. As a filmmaker my responsibility is to raise the issue and bring it to light so that the people start thinking about it.

JE: You have spoken about the plight of documentary filmmakers on various for earlier. Do you think the things are getting better?

Gyaneshwar: Well yes and no I have always maintained that documentary filmmaking is and will remain overshadowed by the mainstream cinema for two basic reasons. First there is no funding available to the documentary filmmakers and second, there are no institutes teaching the documentary filmmaking as an art form. Most documentary filmmakers like me are self-taught. But there is a silver lining on the horizon as awareness about the documentary filmmaking is gradually increasing and some spirited young people are venturing into this rather underexposed form of filmmaking.

JE: Are you suggesting that no credible documentary films are coming from India?

Gyaneshwar: You could say so. To my mind documentary, filmmaking is quasi-activism. It is all about making films that should bring about change and create awareness about the issues that are swept under the carpet by the mainstream media. Like any other film, it needs resources and money to make and promote the film, until unless that happens not much is going to change. Unless a documentary makes somebody uncomfortable it is not worth its salt.

JE: But there are various documentary channels that are presenting the Indian content like national geographic, History, discovery etc.? What do you say to that?

Gyaneshwar: As I said that documentary filmmaking is all about social and political activism; a will to change the discrepancies in the system and society. Most of the TV channels you talked about do not air documentaries of this nature. They just focus on informative documentaries which are noncontroversial and made in order to grab popular eyeballs. No doubt they are well made and are worth watching but they are not my cup of tea.

JE: Do you say that it is difficult to make and exhibit a documentary in India?

Gyaneshwar: Indeed. You could count on tips the documentaries that have been exhibited in cinema halls or shown on popular TV channels. Recovering money is a far cry. Most documentary filmmakers end up making documentaries for NGOs; governments etc. which have clear guidelines and straight jacket approach.

JE: is enough being done to boost the documentary filmmaking in India?

Gyaneshwar: I would say no. Most of the organizations like PSBT and other organizations floated for the purpose are closely guarded clubs in which a serious filmmaker doesn't have a chance. To make a documentary you need to earn somewhere else and use the money to complete your passion. It is still not a viable career option.

About Gyaneshwar Dayal
Gyaneshwar Dayal is a senior journalist with over 20 years of experience in journalism. He has written a book and regularly contributes articles to various online and offsite magazine and newspapers. He is associated with DigitalBerge. He lives in New Delhi, India.