CHANDIGARH: The Jat reservation agitation that claimed many lives, paralysed Haryana and shamed India across the globe last year, moved this 37-year-old man so deeply that he decided to make a documentary on it.
“Uncomfortable questions from friends disturbed me. How can people stoop so low? Who were the culprits behind pushing a peace-loving state into violence? All these questions kept revolving in my mind. And from there started my quest for answers,” says Kuldeep Ruhil, producer and director of the 90-minute documentary Cheer-Haran. Ruhil was born and brought up in Dahakora village near Rohtak.
Produced by Twister Entertainment at a cost of Rs 1 crore, the Hindi documentary will be released on June 27.
Ruhil, who is also an actor and writer, says, “The tagline of the movie is ‘February 2016: Haryana lost peace, harmony and 31 kids’ and it peeps into the psyche of people, post agitation.”
The documentary has been shot in Haryana, Delhi and Gurgaon, and has two songs dedicated to those killed in police firing.
“We interviewed the affected families, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu, and officials. We tried to show both sides of this violence,” says Ruhil, who is now based in Mumbai.
The movie’s US premier at St. Louis is next month, and then it will be screened at all international film festivals. “We are planning to release it in India in February next year,” Ruhil says. “The title reminds us of the heinous incident from the Mahabharata.
Last year around mid-February, Haryana was in a similar situation, unguarded and abandoned, when all of a sudden the Jat agitation for OBC reservation flared up into a devastating inferno of sectarian violence. Women were allegedly gang-raped by mobs. The film tries to decipher why turned things turned violent, whether the brutality could have been averted?’’