Don’t be a blind follower

Alisha Shinde
Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Through his full-length feature film — Follower, Harshad Nalawade, an independent filmmaker, wants to spread the message that one should not believe everything that they read

Fake news and false posts have become so common that the need to stop this menace has been urgently felt. Harshad Nalawade, an independent filmmaker from Belgaum, Karnataka, who now resides in Mumbai, has been creating awareness of fake news and why one should not believe everything that they read. 

Through his full-length feature film Follower, which is currently under production and is being crowd funded, Nalawade wants to tell the audience how not to be a blind follower. He also talks about the independent movie scene in India. 
  
Hard-hitting topic
Talking about his movie, Nalawade explains that since India’s Independence, our country has witnessed many changes in policies and territories. A significant event to emerge from these changes has been the language dispute in Belgaum between the Marathi and Kannada speakers. “Revolving around this issue, my film Follower delves into the politics of hate and fake news,” says he. 
 
Nalawade says that his film follows Raghu, a journalist who works for a media house that acts as a voice of the marginalised Marathi-speaking community in the city of Belgaum. The story explores his personal journey amidst a society driven by half-truths and hate politics, much like the current global socio-political scenario. 

When asked what inspired him to touch this topic now, Nalawade answers that even with changing times, people have not become responsible. “If you watch the movie, you will see that it is more about the journey of Raghu more than anything else, but I also wanted to put an underlying message in the script that it is dangerous to believe everything that you read online.”

Nalawade is of the opinion that social media access is a privilege that needs to be used with responsibility. “There are people out there who will go to any level to get things done in their favour,” he says pointing out that after the Pulwama attack on our soldiers in Kashmir, there were many sites on the internet that were raising funds for the families of the martyred. “However, what was shocking was that while many people wanted to do their bit, there were a few notorious ones who had set up a fake donation website to get these funds which is absolutely shameful,” he says.   
 
Bolder topics
Nalawade is of the opinion that when it comes to independent movies, they have nothing to lose. “Independent movie makers do not collaborate with big banners, so the risk  in monetary terms is less and everything is on a budget,” he says, adding that when it comes to such movies, they do have a sense of liberty in what they want to showcase because they have the freedom to choose the topics unlike commercial banners.
 
“By bolder topics, I do not only mean films with sexual content but also those that have a social message that people usually don’t want to talk about, or such topics that are not taken up by commercial films. The audience for independent movies is very  different from mainstream cinema,” says Nalawade.

Keep Politics aside 
Talking about the current rage of biopics on screen nowadays, Nalawade says, “This is the phase of biopics and in years to come they will eventually go away,” he says adding that when it comes to movies, in a country like India, politics play an important role in the entertainment industry and as bizarre as it may sound, it is true. “I have always been of the opinion that politics and entertainment should never be mixed. In the West, the two are kept separate which is the reason actors there are more outspoken about things that are wrong and even question Donald Trump,” he says.  
 
A medium of education
“In the past few years, we have come across a lot of movies that had an underlying social issue which needed to be addressed — be it with movies like Sairat and Fandry, which talked about the social scenario in rural Maharashtra. They were hard hitting movies that started a conversation perhaps,” says Nalawade who adds that believe it or not movies have become more than just entertainment — they’re a source of educating people. However, he adds that not all hard hitting cinema penetrates through all the layers of society. “Many a time, a movie with an ‘entertainment’ quotient can educate the masses and make them aware of certain things and happenings,” says Nalawade adding that OTT platforms are going to be a game changer and can help educate the masses as mobile network is available throughout the country.
 
To contribute towards funds for the movie, visit: www.wishberry.in/campaign/follower/

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