Rakesh Sharma (filmmaker)
Sharma made waves with Final Solution, a documentary that presents the 2002 Gujarat riots as an anti-Muslim pogrom orchestrated by right-wing Hindu nationalists in Gujarat. Himself a Hindu, Sharma used primary sources — testimony from both victims and perpetrators — to allege that the state was complicit in the violence.
The film was initially denied a certification by the Censor Board of India in July 2004 over the alleged fears that it would incite violence. Earlier, it was rejected as an entry at the Mumbai International Film Festival MIFF 2004.
A week after MIFF, it went on to win two awards at its international premiere at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival (2004). The film was the first Indian film to be awarded the Wolfgang Staudte Award (now called the Golden Bear for Best Debut), and it also won the Special Jury Award at the festival.
The film was cleared by the Censor Board in October 2004, and went on to win the President's Indian National Film Award.
Rakesh Sharma's earlier film is the multiple award winning film Aftershocks: The Rough Guide to Democracy, a subaltern re-examination of the Narmada debate (Development at whose cost? For whose benefit?). Set in Kutch's lignite mining belt, the film probes democracy 'from below'.
In 2011, it was reported that Sharma was working on a film series dealing with Kandhamal, Mangalore, Mumbai terror attack, Malegaon and Gujarat.
2014 Modi video releases
In 2014 Rakesh released a number of video clips of Indian Primme Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from his election speeches for the 2003 election. In these clips Modi appears to endorse the violence perpetrated against Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Rakesh stated that he were releasing the clips because Modi's early speeches had been gradually disappearing from online repositories due to a concerted whitewash campaign to improve Modi's image that could possibly be tarnished by his endorsements of the riots.
- THE HINDU Tuesday, 17 February 2004
- THE TIMES OF INDIA 17 February 2004
- Rakesh Sharma's website
- Rakesh Sharma's blog
- Interview with Rakesh Sharma, Berlinale Catalogue (English and German)
- NYCLU case of Sharma's arrest, and consequent case against NYPD