A movie that found space at the prestigious International Indigenous Film Showcase of Venezuela (Muestra Internacional De Cine Indígena De Venezuela) earlier this month finds no takers in Hyderabad. Anshul Sinha, a young filmmaker from the city who has made 41 short films and won over 88 awards including four international awards, made a film based on a unsung hero in Hyderabad.
“I started filming ‘Gateway to Heaven’ in 2013 to portray the story of Rajeshwar Rao, the man behind Satya Harishchandra Foundation. I felt that Rajeshwar is among the most hardworking people I have ever met and one who is constantly seen engaged in a battle with the organ mafia in the last 20 years.
“The film’s motive is to raise awareness on how the dead are left uncared for in mortuaries,” says the 25-year-old. Incidentally, the news of dead bodies going missing from government hospitals has rocked the city today.
In 2013, he decided to make a film-based on true incidents in a man’s life who performs the last rites of unclaimed dead bodies. Two years later, when the movie is ready for a release, Anshul finds himself trying to find the elusive distributor.
This mass communication graduate from Bhavan’s Rajendra Prasad Institute of Communication and Management says, “I have been knocking on many doors in the last four months and everywhere the distributors are apprehensive about screening a film which is based on the dead,” rues Anshul.
This is not the first instance where the movie has run into trouble.
As soon as he decided to make the film, Anshul faced his first hiccup as his search for a producer remained evasive. “None of them came forward to produce the film. They thought it was a waste of money and time. In order to fund for the movie, I started working in a corporate at night and shot the movie in the morning,” he says. This is when his health started taking a toll on him.
“With hardly any time left for me to sleep, I became severely depressed and recurring images of dead people made me uncomfortable all night. My performance at the MNC dipped and I was fired soon. But somehow, I managed to utilise all the funds and finish the movie,” says Anshul.
He wants to highlight the good deeds of Rao and his foundation, and credits him for being an unsung hero. He met him 2013 when was filming another movie on bio-medical waste.
During his research and filming for ‘Gateway…’, Anshul hit upon mind-boggling facts about organ mafia and soon started to delve deep into it. “There were many who denied permission to shoot for the movie. I risked my life many times to shoot the sting operation. I was sometimes threatened by people involved in the mafia who warned of severe consequences if I released the movie,” says Anshul.
The movie also exposes many violations being carried out by government hospitals in Hyderabad and how the organ mafia are hand in glove with many GHMC officials.
Anshul recently got a boost as his film was cleared by the censor board and received an ‘Adult’ certificate.
It will be showcased at Annapurna Studios on December 13. But with no distributors in hand, Anshul is reeling in the final stages of showcasing his painstaking work.
“I didn’t shoot this movie to make money. I want to bring about awareness and films like these do bring about a change in the attitude of people,” Anshul adds.