A documentary on the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its founder Arvind Kejriwal, will be screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Titled An Insignificant Man, the film is 95 minutes long and took almost four years to complete. Directed by first-time filmmakers Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, the project came into existence when they decided to shoot the beginnings of AAP, on a whim. In an interview with Huffingtonpost India, Ranka said, “Right in the beginning, we laid down two conditions: one, that they would give us a lot of access, including allowing high-level meetings to be filmed and two, that we’d share our footage with them, but what we’d do with it would be at our discretion.”
The party agreed to both their demands. Interestingly, the final product has not been ‘viewed or vetted by the party’.
With almost 400 hours of footage spanning four years, An Insignificant Man captures the period between the party’s inception in 2012, and December 2013 – the time it made its electoral debut and came into power for the first time. Associate Director and Cinematographer Vinay Rohira was also part of the project.
The filmmakers tried very hard to make sure the documentary didn’t come off too academic. Shukla said, “We wanted to make a film that’s lively, reflecting the manner in which we discuss politics in India with, say, our fathers or our neighbours. So, there’s no voice-over and there was a conscious effort to ensure that it didn’t get too academic or ‘highbrow’. The idea is to make the kind of documentary that we ourselves would watch on, say, a Netflix.”
Ship of Theseus director Anand Gandhi has produced this documentary. In a phone interaction with Huff Post India, he hailed An Insignificant Man as a ‘very nuanced take on democracy’. “This film is a fantastic document of what has been the singular biggest problem for democracy anywhere in the world: making it more participatory,” he said.
Previously titled Proposition For A Revolution, the documentary initially sought crowdfunding to complete post-production. After much deliberation, the makers decided to drop the title, as it was ‘somewhat inelegant and clunky’. Ranka said, “When we’d first named the film, we were applying for funds and basically just put the first thing that came to our minds. To me, the new title is also more open-ended and poetic.”‘
An Insignificant Man will have its world premiere under the TIFF Docs section of TIFF 2016, next month. The film will then tour the festival circuit before contemplating a wide release, which could either be theatrical or via OTT streaming services.
Feature image courtesy: India Times