Indian filmmaker Rakesh Sharma made waves with Final Solution, a hard-hitting analysis of the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom orchestrated by right-wing Hindu nationalists in Gujarat. Sharma viewed the events as a turning point in Indian history: “I wanted it (the film) to be more than a record of grief and tragedy,” says Sharma, “and to look at the political conditions behind it.” Himself a Hindu, Sharma used primary sources — testimony from both victims and perpetrators — to reveal state complicity in the violence. When the film was banned, he mounted an ingenious viral distribution campaign, urging supporters to “pirate and circulate.” It went on to win a Special Jury Award in Berlin. “I find it difficult to remain “just” a filmmaker. I want to hold up the film as a mirror and ask, ‘Is this really what you want to support?’” This impulse to explore critical public issues runs through much of his work.
Final Solution (2004)
Berlin International festival — Wolfgang Staudte Award & Special Jury Award
Hong Kong Intl Film Festival — Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Documentary
Index on Censorship Film Award in March 2005.
Aftershocks: The Rough Guide to Democracy (2002)
Fribourg International Film Festival — Le Prix de la Presse Politique, Best Documentary