Battle of Varanasi being made into film

The excitement behind the high-octane poll battle in this holy city is being adapted into a movie by a national award-winning filmmaker.

PTI| Updated: May 03, 2014, 15:10 PM IST

Varanasi: The excitement behind the high-octane poll battle in this holy city is being adapted into a movie by a national award-winning filmmaker.

Known for his genre-defying, independent film "Om-Dar-Ba-Dar", Kamal Swaroop is now shooting a documentary film here with an aim to record the "madness and the noise", and understand the "equations of power as it unfolds in front of people`s eyes".

Swaroop said the 90-minute "Battle of Benares" will bring to screen the engaging contest involving BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Congress` Ajay Rai among others and the political drama that runs parallel to it ahead of voting here on May 12.
Being shot at a time when Varanasi is vibrant in a riot of colours and political hues, the film will feature interviews with Kejriwal, Rai and Samajwadi Party nominee Kailash Nath Chaurasiya, among others, Swaroop said, adding, "We haven`t been able to interview Modi yet."

Inspired by Nobel laureate Elias Canetti`s book, `Crowds and Power`, he intends to use its approaches on "power, crowd dynamics, groups, sub-groups (and) corruption" in shooting his documentary.

"I had read the book by this novelist about 30 years ago... And have been hooked on to it since then. So, when the Varanasi battle began, I thought I was at the best event, at the best place and best time, to apply my learning from the book," Swaroop told PTI.
"More than politics, I am capturing the anthropological relation among the crowds and the different formations presented by the layered chain of events in this political theatre," he added.

Commenting on the city, which has captured the attention of the entire country, the filmmaker said, "Banaras is an unpredictable city and the outcome too will be unpredictable. Notwithstanding all the talk of wave and hype and hoopla, people of Varanasi will decide a day before polling who they wish to crown from the holy city.

"No pundit, religious or the ones watching electoral trends, will be able to fathom this city."