Final Solution (2003 film)
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Final Solution is a 2004 documentary film directed by Rakesh Sharma concerning the 2002 Gujarat pogrom in which both Hindu and Muslims are targeted in the state of Gujarat by political extremists. In order to rationalize their violence, Hindu extremists had made the claim that their actions were in fact a "spontaneous response" to the Godhra Train Burning incident on 27 February 2002. But as the film proceeds with victims continuing to come forward and share their experiences, a more unsettling possibility seems to emerge- that far from being a spontaneous expression of outrage, the anti-Muslim violence had been carefully coordinated and planned.
An official estimate states that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed during the riots, with 223 more missing.
The documentary consists mostly of interviews, with both Muslims and Hindus, of multiple generations, and both sexes, with different views regarding the causes, justifications and the actual events of the violence that occurred, as well as their prospects for the future.
Part 1: Pride and Genocide deals with the carnage and its immediate aftermath. It examines the patterns of pre-planned genocidal violence (by right-wing Hindutva cadres), which many claim was state-supported, if not state-sponsored. The film reconstructs through eyewitness accounts the attack on Gulbarg and Patiya (Ahmedabad) and acts of barbaric violence against Muslim women at Eral and Delol/Kalol (Panchmahals) even as Chief Minister Modi traverses the state on his Gaurav Yatra
Part 2 : The Hate Mandate documents the poll campaign during the Assembly elections in Gujarat in late 2002. It records in detail the exploitation of the Godhra incident by the right-wing propaganda machinery for electoral gains. The film studies and documents the situation months after the elections to find shocking faultlines – voluntary ghettoisation, segregation in schools, formal calls for economic boycott of Muslims and continuing acts of violence.
Screenings and Censoring
The movie was initially banned in India in 2004 for alleged fears that massive communalism and radicalism would be ignited by the film. The Censor Board's ruling itself was a violation of the Indian Supreme Court rulings on this specific issue.
Final Solution was banned in India by the Censor Board for several months. The ban was lifted in Oct.'04 after a sustained campaign (an online petition, hundreds of protest screenings countrywide, multi-city signature campaigns and dozens of letters to the Government sent by audiences directly).
A Pirate-and-Circulate campaign was conducted in protest against the ban (Get-a-free-copy-only-if-you-promise-to-pirate-and-make-5-copies). Over 10,000 free Video CDs of the film were distributed in India during this campaign, which ended in Dec. 2004. Final Solution was offered free to Anhad for their campaigns; it was included in their anthology titled "In defence of our dreams". Subscribers of several journals/mags also got a copy of the film free of cost. These included Communalism Combat (Ed : Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand), Samayik Varta (Ed : Yogendra Yadav), Janmat and several smaller journals.
Final Solution was rejected by the government-run Mumbai International Film Festival, but was screened at 'Vikalp: Films for Freedom', organised by the Campaign Against Censorship. Rakesh Sharma has been an active member of the Campaign since its inception.
A pilot movement to copy-and-redistribute the movie was held, briefly to protest the censoring of the movie screenings. The film has been screened on BBC, NHK, DR2, YLE and several other channels. It is yet to be shown on Indian television.
- "RAKESH SHARMA - Final Solution". Rakeshfilm.com. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- "Freedom of Expression and the Politics of Art | Films of Anand Patwardhan". Patwardhan.com. Retrieved 2014-08-18.