It all started with a tweet

Buddha wasn’t going anywhere.

Everyone had backed out of my film ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’. There was no money. Whatever I had was gone into finishing it. Despite many awards, acclaim and powerful content, the powerful people, who claim to be messiahs of Indie films and champions of FoE wanted this film to die. I learnt that ‘Content is king’ is a myth.

I was fighting a battle. Alone.

Then Rohit Vemula committed suicide and Left leaders tried to turn it into a Dalit issue. Immediately after that Kanhaiya issue came into limelight. These two incidents reinforced my faith in film’s content. Whatever I had envisioned in the film few years ago was becoming true.

Buddha’s time had come.

Since distributors and studios were backing our regularly, I thought the best way would be to keep the film alive by screening it at few institutes. What could be better than JNU, which was at the centre of student politics and supposedly a Mecca for FoE. So, I wrote to Ira Bhaskar, Dean, Cinema studies, JNU. Once. twice. Thrice… my DA Naireeta called her several times. Messaged her many times. She called back only once to tell her that ‘Mahaul theek nahi hai…’ When we explained to her why it was so important to show the movie now, she said ‘…will speak to faculty and get back’.

She never got back.

Her daughter, Swara Bhaskar was supposed to do a role in Buddha In A Traffic Jam but last minute she backed out. It was appropriate as she never agreed with film’s take on Naxal-NGO-Academia nexus. It was natural for me to connect the dots.

I gave up.

Two days later, I read a tweet from a friend and a wonderful director Hansal Mehta informing that next day his film ‘Aligarh’, based on life of a gay professor, will be shown at JNU. I couldn’t believe it. Then I read more tweets confirming it. Which meant ‘Mahual’ for some films wasnt ‘kharab’. It was time to act.

That’s when I asked my music director Rohit Sharma to take Swara’s help (who is part of the band ‘Swaang’ that gave music for the film) in convincing her mother. Swara’s boyfriend Ravinder Randhawa has been part of the same band and he offered to help. But they came back to tell me that they spoke to Ira but ‘mahaul is not good hence no film can be shown’. I could sense the partisan politics of a Leftist faculty. But I didn’t know anyone who could help me.

So, in frustration, on my way to Bhuj, I wrote two tweets.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.00.40 AM

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.00.46 AM

Between 11-1130AM I got several calls from unknown phone numbers, while I took a short nap on smooth highway of Bhuj. At about 11.45 AM, Anupam Kher called me to find out why the media was calling him? I understood. I briefed him and mailed him all the documentary evidences. By 12.30 Rahul of X News broke it and by mid noon all channels were showing how Buddha In A Traffic Jam was stuck in the JNU Jam.

Calls started pouring. News channels rushed their correspondents to Bhuj for my bytes. Almost every channel, newspaper covered it in headlines. Only two channels (who have been extra vocal about JNU and FoE issue) never mentioned it – Barkha Dutt of NDTV and Rajdeep Sardesai of India Today.

On that day, when I stood at the salt panes of Bhuj, watching the sun set, I decided to make my voice heard and give life to ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’. I took out my phone and made a poster.

I had found my Buddha.

And I never looked back.

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It’s a series of blogs where I share my struggle in releasing our movie ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’. With these blogs you will get first-hand insights into student politics, film politics, identity politics and the narrative politics of India. 

 

 

About School Of Creativity

The School of Creativity will be launched soon. The focus here will be to provide one on one attention to every student. Each student will be personally groomed and trained by Mr. Vivek Agnihotri. Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker, writer, actor, singer, blogger or have a business idea, you will be provided a platform to launch yourself into the public eye. What will be the courses offered at the School Of Creativity? 1. The quest to mastering your inner creativity 2. The only solution to mental/emotional/financial/physical stress 3. Creative Thinking – A science like Yoga How can I enroll myself into the School Of Creativity? Send us any work you have done that involved a creative side of yours on contact@schoolofcreativity.in. We will shortlist 10 students for our first batch. What is the takeaway from the #SchoolOfCreativity? You will be given a platform to showcase your talent. For example, if you are an aspiring filmmaker we will produce and promote your film. Also, the final batch of shortlisted students will receive a chance to work with Mr. Vivek Agnihotri on his next film.
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3 Responses to It all started with a tweet

  1. veera pandian says:

    Very inspiring. congratulations & thank you.

    S.A.Veerapandian

    From: Buddha in A Traffic Jam To: pannpandi@yahoo.co.in Sent: Thursday, 21 April 2016 6:57 AM Subject: [New post] It all started with a tweet #yiv4838468650 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4838468650 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4838468650 a.yiv4838468650primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4838468650 a.yiv4838468650primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4838468650 a.yiv4838468650primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4838468650 a.yiv4838468650primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4838468650 WordPress.com | vivekagnihotri posted: “Buddha wasn’t going anywhere.Everyone had backed out of my film ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’. There was no money. Whatever I had was gone into finishing it. Despite many awards, acclaim and powerful content, the powerful people, who claim to be messiahs of” | |

  2. Siddhartha says:

    First of all I bow down to your perseverance and your grit. Not unexpectedly, I also belong to the fraternity which is often labeled as the proponent of curbing of free speech and expression which is probably the greatest oxymoron of our time. Having burnt my hands I have a first hand experience of how these champions of free speech curb any voice that doesn’t resonate with their narrative. I associated myself with the The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. I attended their meetings where the only points of discussion were how the “Butcher of Gujarat” needs to be taught a lesson, how capitalism is destroying this world and how development is alienating 90% of population of India. All this venom against capitalism was being spread by people who were studying MBA paying almost 50 lakh rupees a year in what is probably the most capitalistic cities of the world, which also happens to be the home town of Noam Chomasky, wearing Calvin Klein jeans and sporting a Hugo Boss perfume. I haven’t come across more hypocritical people. Thank God better sense prevailed and I pulled myself out of this cesspool.

    I, along with my family, will definitely go and watch this movie. Not because I would like to make it sound like a favour but because I genuinely want to. I wish you all the success for the cause you have undertaken. At the cost of sounding like a sadist (which I may be a wee bit) I do want to see the ones who tried to block this movie frothing at their mouths.

  3. Grt keep going. Mai akela hi chala tha……remember those words Vivek,
    Machli ki aankh pe nazar rakho Arjun….

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