Published: 17th April 2019
Meet the Ravenshaw University students who made a documentary on Baji Rout
The founder of Kahaniyaan Candid Cinema talks about their film club, their web series and their documentary on Baji Rout
If you do a quick Google search to find out the name of the youngest Indian freedom fighter, chances are that the browser will display results on Khudiram Bose, a revolutionary who attained martyrdom at 18. But is it true that Bose was the youngest freedom fighter? Looks like Google got it all wrong. In 1938, Baji Rout, a 12-year-old from Dhenkanal in Odisha, took a bullet for the country fired by the British.
To let the rest of the country know about Baji Rout and his act of courage, a group of students from Ravenshaw University, Cuttack made a documentary, showcasing his life and struggle. The documentary titled Baji Rout: India's Youngest Freedom Fighter was produced under the production label Kahaniyaan Candid Cinema, run by two second-year undergraduate students Riyyan Farooq and Satyaswaroop Kanungo.
"The initial idea was to make a documentary on Chand Bibi. But it required a huge budget and we couldn't afford it. Also, it would've consumed a lot of time. So, we thought, why not make a film on a freedom fighter who is from our own state. That's how the idea of this documentary came up," explains Riyyan who informs us that his team took 17 days to do their research and over a month to finish shooting. "We were fascinated to know that he was active in the freedom struggle right from the age of eight. It is amazing to know the kind of love he had for our motherland and the courage to fight the British at such a young age," he says.
While the initial plan was to release the film on Independence Day of 2018, the shoot got extended due to rains. But it was, in some way, a blessing in disguise. "We read that it rained heavily on the day that Baji died. So here, we got to shoot the same scene on a rainy day, without having to create it artificially," he says. Having founded Kahaniyaan a year ago, the group has made around 16 short films and a web series called Candid Conversations. "Here, the aim was to discuss homosexual relationships and acceptance. But we ended up having panels on MeToo and menstrual hygiene too. It was easier than movies because here we were really having candid conversations," he says.