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Screening and Discussion

Final Solution is a study of the politics of hate. Set in Gujarat, India, the film graphically documents the changing face of right-wing politics in India through a study of the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. The film examines the aftermath of the deadly violence that followed the burning of 58 Hindus on the Sabarmati Express train at Godhra on February 27 2002. In “reaction” to that incident, some 2,500 Muslims were brutally murdered, hundreds of women raped, and more than 200,000 families driven from their homes. Borrowing its reference from the history of Nazism, the title of the film exposes what the film director calls 'Indian Fascism' and seeks to remind that “those who forget history are condemned to relive it."

About the Film

Part 1: Pride and Genocide deals with the carnage and its immediate aftermath. It examines the patterns of pre-planned genocidal violence (by right-wing Hindutva cadres), which many claim was state-supported, if not state-sponsored. The film reconstructs through eyewitness accounts the attack on Gulbarg and Patiya (Ahmedabad) and acts of barbaric violence against Moslem women at Eral and Delol/Kalol (Panchmahals) even as Chief Minister Modi traverses the state on his Gaurav Yatra.

Part 2 : The Hate Mandate documents the poll campaign during the Assembly elections in Gujarat in late 2002. It records in detail the exploitation of the Godhra incident by the right-wing propaganda machinery for electoral gains. The film studies and documents the situation months after the elections to find shocking faultlines – voluntary ghettoisation, segregation in schools, formal calls for economic boycott of Moslems and continuing acts of violence.


Final Solution was banned in India by the Censor Board for several months. The ban was recently lifted after a sustained campaign (an online petition, hundreds of protest screenings countrywide, multi-city signature campaigns and dozens of letters to the Government sent by audiences directly). Final Solution was also rejected by the government-run Mumbai International Film Festival, but was screened at Vikalp: Films for Freedom (http://www.freedomfilmsindia.org), organised by the Campaign Against Censorship. Rakesh Sharma has been an active member of the Campaign since its inception.


* Wolfgang Staudte Award & Special Jury Award (Netpac), Berlin International Film Festival
Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Documentary, HongKong International Film Festival

* Silver Dhow (Best Doc category), Zanzibar International Film Festival
Best Feature-Length Documentary, Big MiniDV (USA)
* Special Jury Mention, Munich Dokfest
Nominated for the prestigious Grierson Award (UK)
* Special Award by NRIs for a Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI), NY-NJ, USA


Berlinale (International premiere; Feb 2004), HongKong, Fribourg, Sao Paulo, 3 Continents Filmfest (South Africa), Hot Docs (Canada), Vancouver, Zanzibar, Durban, Vermont International Film Festival (USA), Asiatica Filmmediale (Rome), Leeds (UK), Cork (Ireland), Bogota (Colombia), Commonwealth Film Festival (UK), One World Filmfest (Prague), Academia Olomouc (Czech), Voces Contra el Silencio (Mexico), Istanbul 1001fest, Singapore, Flanders (Belgium), International Film Festival of Human Rights (Spain), South Asian Film Festivals (New York, Seattle, Dallas), World Social Forum (Mumbai), Vikalp (organised by Campaign against Censorship) and several other filmfests.

About the Director

Rakesh Sharma began his film/TV career in 1986 as an assistant director on Shyam Benegal's Discovery of India. His broadcast industry experience includes the set up/ launch of 3 broadcast channels in India: Channel [V], Star Plus and Vijay TVand several production consultancy assignments. He has now gone back to independent documentary film-making.

His last film Aftershocks: The Rough Guide to Democracy won the Best documentary film award at Fribourg, Big Mini-DV and at Big Muddy and won 7 other awards (including the Robert Flaherty prize) at various festivals in USA and Europe during 2002-03. It has been screened at over 90 international film festivals. Aftershocks was also rejected by the government-run Mumbai International film festival in 2002.


Interview with Rakesh Sharma
Berlinale Catalogue

"Post-Godhra, hate still threatens: Filmmaker"
Hindustan Times, Apr 15, 2004

"Indian movie shines at Hong Kong festival"
Times of India, Apr 15, 2004

"Polling strings"
Shanta Gokhale, Mid-Day, Feb 17, 2004

"A miss at MIFF, accolades at Berlinale"
Kalpana Sharma, The Hindu, Feb 17, 2004

"Mumbai reject finally shines in Berlin"
Times of India, Feb 17, 2004

"Rakesh Sharma's film wins accolades at Berlin film fest"
IndianTelevision, Feb 16, 2004

"Women from minority community still traumatised"
Piali Banerjee, Times of India, Dec 16, 2003

"The ride is less bumpy"
Shubhra Gupta, Sep 29, 2003, The Hindu Business Line



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