ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

Though a commendable effort, Jabbar Patel's film on Ambedkar has failed to focus on Ambedkar's visionary personality, as a political leader with a specific agenda for social and economic transformation of dalits and other weaker sections of Indian society. In presenting only the 'popular' Ambedkar, Patel has lost an opportunity to fill a vacuum in the documentation of Ambedkar's life.

Following a decision taken during the birth centenary year of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the union ministry of social justice and empowerment and the Maharashtra government have jointly produced a film on the life and contributions of Ambedkar. The film project, which started in the early 1990s, took almost nine years to complete under the direction of Jabbar Patel.

The period between the early 1920s and mid-1950s, which coincided with the Ambedkar-led movement, was crucial in Indian history as it saw the evolution of the political, economic and social framework of the present-day India. This period also brought forth a galaxy of eminent leaders who contributed significantly to the making of the Indian state as a nation. Ambedkar stood apart from his eminent contemporaries because he combined in himself the distinction of being a social revolutionary, a statesman, a scholar and a visionary. It is a daunting task for a film director to project Ambedkar’s multifarious contributions and his controversial positions on several issues. To what extent is the film able to capture the life and contributions of Ambedkar can be subjected to interrogation.

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