California-based Indian filmmaker Ravi Verma is set to make “Viva Democracy”, a documentary focussing on the nine-phased 16th Lok Sabha elections that involve 814 million voters. He says the purpose is to show the “people’s perspective” on the battle of the ballot and draw a contrast between the Indian and US election processes.
“We will shoot the documentary from the first week of April till the end of the Lok Sabha polls in May. We will mainly shoot in Bihar as well as other places across India,” Verma, who hails from Katihar, around 350 km from Patna, told IANS on phone from Rocklin, California.
He has received approval from the Ministry of External Affairs to make the film. He added that the purpose is to show the contrast of the election process in the two largest democracies – India and the US.
During the Lok Sabha elections, starting April 7, the filmmaker wishes to capture the vibrant nature of the polls that he grew up watching. The whole exercise of polling in 543 constituencies at about 930,000 polling stations across the country will be over in 72 days.
Verma is keen to show how common people belonging to different economic statuses, castes, gender, and religions view the election. In India, elections are boisterous events with rallies and slogans.
Comparatively, elections in the US are sedate. “Shooting and capturing India’s election from people’s perspective is a big challenge for a documentary maker,” Verma said.
An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Kanpur, Verma, who migrated to the US in the 1990s, has maintained a strong bond with his hometown. He owns a software firm in California and he set up its subsidiary firm in Katihar in 2005.
In 2013 he released “Journey of the Heart”, a documentary sponsored by the Government of India.
Last time he had brought crew from Hollywood to Bihar to shoot the film, but this time he plans to use local talent to capture the election. He has been training a group of youngsters in Katihar in cinematography and sound techniques.