Journey So Far

Shri-Prakash3

Television had already made its debut in India by 1980 and the Indian mass was introduced to this dream world where a certain sect of class was reigning over the medium and the rest were mere spectators. The knowledge of this instigated the revolutionary within Shriprakash to challenge the ruling elite of this craft even when not formally trained for the medium. With an uncompromising zeal, a VHS camera and an unshakable belief in the strength of the medium he rolled the camera.
Although Shriprakash’s command over the subjects he chose was good, his films were more crude and rough edged than the films of that era which was due to his lack of hold over the technical side of the medium.

Shri Prakash acknowledges the support of CENDIT, New Delhi, an organization that helped him with workshops on film making, editing facilities and the pat on his back by Satish Bahaddur and P.K. Nair who recommended his film ‘Kis Ki Raksha’ [1994] for Trivandrum Film Festival which not only screened his film for the first time on big screen but also put him on the map of Indian documentary film making.
Along with making films Shriprakash and his group Kritika, also travelled across the country side of Jharkhand with VCP/ VCR and generator to showcase films and create awareness about the issues that the films were raising. With time, these screenings became not just an exercise in spreading awareness but also an exercise in film appreciation for the people.

The journey had already begun and following the 1995 film Addo Miyad Ulgulan [Another Revolt], on the oldest anti dam protest i.e. Koel Karo movement, came Shri Prakash’s magnum opus the ‘Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda’ which won four international awards including Earth Vision Film Festival Tokyo’s Grand Award. This film made in the year 1999 brought him worldwide recognition.
In spite of ‘Buddha weeps in Jadugoda’ being applauded across the globe, being screened thrice in Japan’s NHK in a year and translated into various languages, the Indian channels refused to screen it. But without being demoralized by this, Shri Prakash bought his first digital camera, with the money this film brought and continued to roll.
The Fire Within (Buru- Sengal), the film Shriprakash made in 2002 on coal mines in Jharkhand won three international awards which made possible another two films for University of East Anglia on Forest right issues and communities in Andhra Pradesh, India.

By this time, he was being recognized in Jharkhand state for his work. His film Pahadi Nadi (Buru – Gara) made in 2005, won the prestigious National Award. This was notably the first National Award won by any one in any field who was working in Jharkhand. This further made way for the films he then made for PSBT (2007-11).
In his films, Shri Prakash amalgamates art with the issues without reducing art to sloganeering or merely aestheticizing the issues. In his hands, art turns political and politics turns artistic.
In 2009, his quest for the answers and the quest to reach out to a larger audience to tell them the stories of the soil, made him explore fiction films. His first fiction film, Baha spoke of the struggle of a singer from rural area of Jharkhand aspiring to be successful in the regional Nagapuri/Saadri music industry. The film won an international award in Germany.

Besides film making, Shriprakash as a film activist believes that the responsibilities of a filmmaker do not just get over with making films. He thus closely continues to work with the issues even after the film is made.
He is an active member and one of the founding members of JOAR (Jharkhandi Organsiation Against Radiation) Jodugoda. His films and documentation on the uranium issue have helped JOAR spread over to international boundaries. He has participated in many film festivals and conferences in this journey for justice, against the atrocities of institutions that continues the impact of uranium contamination on communities living near mines and tailing dams, with no option but to suffer.
In 2004 he was invited to screen his film at Tufts University, Boston.  The film screenings in various universities in the East coast were arranged by AID [Association India Development].
In 2006, FOSA (Friends of South Asia) as well as AID again arranged his films screening in the universities in West Coast.

Shri Prakash has been guest lecturer at many in the top universities in India and abroad e.g. He has spoken at the institutions listed below.

Indian Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Federal University, Rio – “School of Cinema of the Fluminense’
Tufts University, USA
School of Communication, Manipal University
Central University of Hyderabad
St. Xavier’s, Ranchi