Anand Patwardhan’s new documentary Reason (the Hindi title is Vivek) won Best Feature-Length Documentary at the 31st International Documentary Filmfestival, Amsterdam, the event’s organisers announced on Thursday.
Spanning four hours, the eight-part film examines the decline of secularism in contemporary Indian society through the headlines of recent years, including the murders of rationalists, attacks on activists critical of the government, the emergence of Hindutva organisations such as Sanathan Sanstha and Abhinav Bharat and attacks on Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection.
Payal Kapadia’s And What Is The Summer Saying, a poetic glimpse at a village in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri’s hills, won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Short Documentary.
Patwardhan’s film was chosen unanimously by the jury for the top prize for its “epic storytelling of the rise of the far right in one of the most populated countries on this planet, the violence of religious and ultra-nationalist militias with the support of authorities and dominant medias, the dignity of resistance in multiple forms, often at life-cost, in a way that acknowledges the complexity of the situation but put it in a very understandable shape”, according to the festival’s official website.
Reason had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Patwardhan’s documentary filmmaking credits include Waves of Revolution (1971), Ram Ke Naam (1992), Father, Son, and Holy War (1995) and Jai Bhim Comrade (2012).