Indian students’ documentary on Tibetan struggle scoops international film awards


By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, June 14: Rangzen, a documentary film on exiled Tibetans living in Bylakuppe in the south Indian state of Karnataka has scooped a number of awards at international film festivals.

Three students of St Joseph’s College in Bengaluru – Santosh Chandrasekhar (26), Aiman S (24) and Sumit Dasgupta (24) – worked on the 39-minute long documentary on exiled Tibetans as part of their final project for the college. But little did they know that their film will carve a niche for them as it makes to the film festivals.

(L-R) Aiman, Santosh Chandrasekhar and Sumit Dasgupta. Image: The New Indian Express
(L-R) Aiman, Santosh Chandrasekhar and Sumit Dasgupta.
Image: The New Indian Express

‘Rangzen’ was screened at the Bangalore International Short Film Festival 2017 on Sunday where 198 films from 35 countries participated and won in the best documentary category. The documentary has also won the Special Jury Award at the International Film Festival of Prayag, Delhi and the Audience Award at Feel the Reel International Film Festival in the UK, 2017, media reports says.

The documentary film revolves around lives of the Tibetans in Bylakuppe and their search for existence and identity between the struggle for freedom and a home in exile.

“News about Tibetan protests receives wide coverage, but the identity crisis among Tibetans living in India is hardly explored.  This particular aspect, I think, needs a lot of attention. Even the mainstream media usually shies away from any proper coverage on this aspect. Many do not consider Tibetans a distinct community, and usually club them with people from Northeast India,” The New Indian Express quoted Santosh, one of the film maker as saying in its report.

19197843_1555120074532397_916100888_o“Rangzen means freedom, and many from the younger generation of Tibetans are holding on to their culture, hoping to return to a free Tibet someday,” Santosh added.

‘Rangzen’ has further made official entries into various film festivals, such as the International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kerala, 2016 and the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, 2017.