As the dusk falls

"Some wars are fought to tell the world that someone was there on the battlefield"- Ravish Kumar.

Picture credits: While We Watched poster, A film by Vinay Shukla

G Sai Prashanth

A movie that could be referred to as a trauma capsule packed with intense newsroom drama with some scattered sense of humor for 90 minutes. In a drama fueled by anxiety, Vinay Shukla, the director of 'While We Watched’, said that he wanted to make people feel absolutely terrible for 90 minutes straight by focusing on a lonely protagonist. Vinay made it a point to show the cost of nationalism, and rather than just an aggressive political discourse, the movie focused more on the other side, working on the viewer's emotions. "While we watched," a story that was more than just the struggle of a journalist; it was about a father's love for his daughter, a man's loneliness, a wife's support for her husband, and about the small acts of personal sacrifices.

For me personally, "While we watched" raised a lot of questions about journalism and its purpose. After the screening of the film at the Bengaluru International Centre, in an online discussion with Ravish Kumar, he mentioned that there is a deep line between what is right and wrong. He said that journalism depends on people's engagement, but money shouldn't be a reason to sell journalism. Through the movie, the audience is taken on a path where individuals have to choose between journalism and keeping their jobs. Ravish, through the film, keeps questioning his own relevance and journalism as a whole. I got the chill down my spine, wondering how he continued to do the work he did.

At the screening of ‘While We Watched’ in Bengaluru International Centre.

Picture credits: G Sai Prashanth

While Ravish Kumar continues to fight for his voice and NDTV India fights for its own independence, the evolution of the news channel is slowly taking shape in the background, giving us a glimpse of how we got to where we are today. Ravish in the interview also mentioned that now NDTV has power, money, and a lot of support, but they still have a huge vacuum that's really hard to fill.

The film shed light on the challenges and hardships that a lone journalist faces in Modi's India, where media outlets are either being completely destroyed or toeing the government’s line. I was left with a hole in my chest and many unanswered questions about the future of journalism and our country. A film like this gives the public a dose of reality. For me personally, the film taught perseverance. While Ravish was still coasting along, going about his job, and being persistent, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award. The final five minutes of the film gave me a glimmer of hope that felt like a light at the end of the tunnel, as there was still some hope left in the darkness.

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