A recent cover story published by Thejas fortnightly(July 4) containing the views of a documentary film maker called Odessa Sathyan, interviewed by Reny  Ayline, contains extremely derogatory remarks on our expired colleague Sarat Chandran as well as VIBGYOR International Film Festival. Sathyan has lashed out on Sarat Chandran and VIBGYOR. We certainly would like to clarify the untrue facts propagated by Sathyan on VIBGYOR and our colleague late. Sarat Chandran.

Sarat Chandran was a milestone in the history of film activism in Kerala. He, along with P. Baburaj made several films documenting the people’s movements which questioned the policies of both the left and right political forces. His contribution to Plachimada struggle, Chaliyar struggle, Chengara struggle, Pooyankutty struggle, anti-nuclear struggle, Kathikkudam struggle, Pathrakkadavu struggle, Narmada movement, struggle against communal violence in Khandamal, solidarity to Irom  Sharmila and many other struggles have been acknowledged by local activists many times in public platforms. Since Sathyan was never a part of any contemporary people’s movement, it is not essential that Sarat’s contribution is acknowledged by him. But to
lash out on Sarat alleging ulterior motives and funding will not be acceptable to anyone who knew Sarat. Sarat had put in his personal savings and even family resources for these struggles by immersing himself on production of films and their exhibition in support of various struggles. The truth is that he had not received even a fraction of funds collected by Sathyan from the public. Hence, we condemn the defamation of Sarat Chandran by Sathyan.

As far as VIBGYOR is concerned, it is highly untrue that it is controlled by the Christian Church. By stating such allegations Odessa Sathyan is instigating communal angles on a secular platform. We hereby, strongly oppose the propaganda initiated by Sathyan on this matter.

ViBGYOR Film Collective is the legal body that organizes the ViBGYOR Annual Film Festival and the associated activities. It was registered as a Society  july 2007 and later as a Film Society with Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI).  VIBGYOR Film Festival is an open coalition initiated by various organizations with the objective of generating space for the anti-communal movement, womens’ movement, sexuality movement, adivasi struggles, anti-globalisation struggles, anti-corporate struggles, struggles against destructive development, dalit movement, fisher peoples’  movement, self determination movement, human rights movements, environmental movements, etc. We are proud to say that during the last seven years of history, we have not only screened hundreds of films on all these issues in our festival, but also brought many activists, leaders, intellectuals and film makers who are involved with such struggles. We have also introduced several issues first time in Kerala, which other activists have followed up.  Leaders and representatives of Plachimada struggle, Chaliyar struggle, Fisher people’s struggle, Naga human rights movement, Anti POSCO Movement, Srilankan Tamil human rights movement, anti communal movement, womens’ movement, Chengara struggle, Athirappilly struggle, Kathikkudam struggle, Laloor struggle against urban waste management, Chakkamkandam struggle, human rights movement from Manipur, Koodamkulam movement, widows movement of Manipur, Anti-FTA struggle, sexuality movement and many other struggles have been supported by ViBYOR by sharing its platforms.  These struggles do not share the opinion of Sathyan propagated by Reny. To our limited knowledge, Odessa Sathyan has never been part of any of these struggles. Therefore he has no moral right to question either Sarat Chandran or VIBGYOR who have proven association with people’s movements.

Apart from nationally and internationally known film makers many well known personalities with credentials have shared VIBYOR. They include Medha Patkar, Dr. Binayak Sen,P. Sainath , Dr. Ram Dayal Munda, Mallika Sarabhai, Anand Patwardhan, Syed Mirza, Ali Kazmi, C.K. Janu, Prafulla Samantara, Dayamani Barla, T. Peter and many others who  have cooperated with VIBGYOR . Apat from annual film festival , we screen socially relevant films all over the year through Campus ViBGYOR, Village ViBGYOR, and Monthly screenings  The funds received

by VIBGYOR never come close to any international film festival like IFFK, IDSFFK ,IFFT, TIFF or any other events like that. In spite of receiving money from various individuals, collection of passes, advertisements, municipal contributions and contributions from various organizations, the festival still ends up with debts every year. All the money received by VIBGYOR is audited every year , presented in general body and we believe in public accountability. We do not know if Sathyan can produce the accounts of the so called public collections he has been pursuing for decades or whether he is accountable with audited statements of whatever money he has received so far. As far as our understanding is concerned, those who have contributed to him also

have no idea. Such a person has no moral right to spread financial allegations on VIBGYOR.  Secondly, if VIBGYOR is a political problem for him why did he come and open his business stall inside the festival?

VIBGYOR has always believed in inclusive politics and we believe that only inclusive politics will make an impact in society. Therefore, we have taken effort to include activists from various
shades of ideologies, peoples’ movements, representatives of political parties, NGOs, intellectuals from diverse fields, film enthusiasts, film makers, poets, writers, musicians, artists and journalists in our ventures. It was with this same perspective that we have generated space for even Odessa Sathyan for his business stall. However, the comments published by Thejas weekly are seen by many as below your own dignity.

Sathyan has also lashed out on CPIM and EMS Namboodirippad and glorified film maker John Abraham. It is not our responsibility to respond to such comments since the members of VIBGYOR have a right to agree or disagree with these comments. However, we would like to bring to your notice that it is the same John Abraham who wanted to make a documentary on EMS Namboodirippad and the project was dropped because of negotiation failure. John’s films were also produced and distributed by the CPI(M) organization called Janashakthi.

We sincerely request Thejas weekly not to publish scandalous articles with baseless facts and stop promoting individualistic, cynical, negative self righteous and self-assumed activists. Since it is politically important to curb scandals on people’s movements, activists and film activists and since Renny, Sathyan and the editor of Thejas magazine have played irresponsibly with the credibility of a large number of people who have worked hard to build this festival, we demand an immediate apology from all three. We also demand that this response is published in your magazine with same importance .  We also hope that you will stop promoting defamation activities on meaningful people and activist initiatives in future.

For Friends of ViBGYOR and members of ViBGYOR

  • K.P.Sasi
  • P Baburaj
  • Anivar Aravind
  • Anar Ali
  • Prasannakumar T N
  • Joseph Laser
  • KEK Satheesh
  • Dr. Renjith P
  • Civic Chandran
  • Jibu Thomas
  • Dr. Fr. Benny Benedict
  • Razi
  • Sumesh Mangalassery
  • Seena Panoli
  • Sarath Cheloor
  • Mustafa Desamangalam
  • Uma K P
  • Dr. T Muraleedharan
  • Siby Chalissery
  • Anil Kathikudam
  • CF George master
  • KC Santhosh Kumar
  • Sreemith N Sekhar
  • Jisha Josh
  • Neethu
  • Mary
  • Seena Antony
  • Salish syla
  • Paul Kattookkaran
  • Luis Mathew
  • Bavachan

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