RBN Web Desk: Auteur Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy is all set to be screened at the Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF) which will be held in the city from 13 to 20 April. However, it’s the classification of the three films in the festival that has irked a section of the audience back home and even the government.
Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and Apur Sansar (1959)—the three films comprising the trilogy—will be screened under the Belt and Road section at the BIFF.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) also known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), is a Chinese highway infrastructure project, which aims to establish interlinked road connectivity in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Several Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand have already joined the project. India, however, has all along opposed the BRI stating that it will disturb the sovereignty of the country. New Delhi has also been vocal against the project at several global forums.
Beijing, on its part, has been promoting the BRI globally. It wants to include all the old silk routes to India as part of the project which New Delhi has strongly opposed. BRI already includes the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with Beijing contributing the lion’s share of funds towards its construction.
An official of the ministry of culture told RBN, “Pather Panchali is known as the Song of the Little Road to the international audience. The word ‘road’ in the film’s name has been used as a metaphor. The trilogy chronicles the journey of its main protagonist Apu from a child to adulthood. But it no way the film, considered a masterpiece in world cinema, can be used as a propaganda vehicle by a country to establish hegemony over a region.”
The BRI has already become a major geopolitical issue with several countries raising objections on the grounds of environmental hazards, exploitation of natural resources, and disturbing regional ecological balance.
Pather Panchali is widely considered to have single-handedly introduced neo-realist cinema in India. It won the best Human Document at Cannes in 1956 along with several other awards at all major international film festivals.