The Fire Within
'The Fire Within', Shriprakash's latest film is an exploration of the lives of the adivasis in the Jharkhand area, devastated by the century old coal mining industry.
It depicts the metamorphosis of the land of the Tana Bhagats; a sect of the Oraon tribe as a peace-loving people, now trapped between power struggles of the coal mafia, corrupt bureaucrats and the Maoist group. In the view of recent reports of fossil fuel combustion as the main culprit causing climate changes, the issue discussed in the film is very pertinent.
Communities across India are reeling from drought and famine situations because of the poor monsoons. It traces the changes right from the years that the British cast out the natives of the land. The film travels through the 19th century, world wars and the railways coming to India when coal mining began. These mines have stripped the land of its natural resources and have been mismanaged by their private owners. The saga continues years later with the pitiable state of the polluted Damodar river and an open mine literally on fire.
'The Fire Within' scratches the surface of a reality that is thick with unplanned and hastily executed 'developmental' projects. Such projects disregard the essential rehabilitation process for projects to be sustainable, apart from perpetuating environmental disasters. The director Shriprakash from Ranchi, Jharkhand has made several attempts to capture the struggle for basic survival made by communities in Jharkhand and Bihar. His films capture and recreate the main struggles and aspirations of the people in a self-effacing way.
Color, 57 min, Hindi/English with English subtitles