Published: 24th January 2020
It is important to listen to the silent voices of our environment: This award-winning short film tells us why
The theme of the film, A Silent Voice, aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN and speaks for lakes all around the world
As per the United Nations' (UN) calendar, February 20 is World Day of Social Justice but it's extra-special for director Anshul Sinha from Hyderabad, it is the day he is going to be honoured by the LAMPA International Film Festival Retrospective at the UN Headquarters in New York as a part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN. This is for his stellar short film A Silent Voice which previously won an award from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. "Our intentions were good and through our creativity, we could convey the message effectively," says Anshul who has made approximately 200 films and has won 135 awards.
This movie, A Silent Voice, is special because it is one and a half minutes long and was made in collaboration with lake conservationist Sunil Chakravarthi. It took Anshul two months to make this film, which also included one month of research. "Basically, it was Sunil sir's concept and was executed by us," he explains.
Every lake revivalist and conservationist knows that it is not enough to revive a lake, one has to spark community responsibility and ownership towards it. Founder of Ibrahim Lake Revival Committee Sunil Chakravarthi built this community ownership towards Ibrahim Lake, approximately behind the Golconda Fort, by conducting several events on World Environment Day, International Women's Day and so on. "We successfully built a solid network around the lake," says Chakravarthi who founded the committee in 2016. By the end of 2017, they received funding from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to maintain the lake. It was then that Chakravarthi, who works in a software company, thought of approaching Anshul Sinha, a well-known name in Hyderabad when it comes to films and documentaries, with a request to spread the message of the importance of lake conservation. Hence, the idea of A Silent Voice was born.
Talking about the short film itself, the duo inform us that it is about a girl who cannot speak, just like a lake can't. And the lake's message is conveyed through this mute girl. Clearly, the concept has touched many chords. "We never thought about the results while making the film, so all we are doing now is enjoying its success," says 39-year-old Chakravarthi and adds, "The award is a bonus. Our real win is in the fact that after watching the short film, many revival committees have reached out to us asking for our help." They intend to spread the message further and want multiplexes to show the film for two to three months.
Chakravarthi rues the fact that lakes are in a deplorable condition, especially in the city. "Colonies are built on top of lakes, gated communities come up right next to them and turn them into sewage dumps. During Ganesh Nimarjan, the tanks made to immerse the idols were carved out from the lake and the polluted water went back to the lake after the nimarjan," he highlights. Thus, in times like this, Anshul Sinha's A Silent Voice is a story that needs to be told.