'Green Warriors' is an example of how to use the medium of film as a platform for people to voice their opinions and make it heard. Dr Chhabra, an award winning director of 'Mudcake' and 'Taste of Berry' , with support from the NGO Humlog, had the skills and knowledge, and most of all the determination to make the film as an activist’s tool. He set in motion several protests by school children and others, initiated research and invited the participation of many reputed and influential people – all of which went into the making of the film ‘Green Warriors’.
There is a secret place – a hidden heaven - which no one knows about in the city of Chandigarh. However, it might be lost soon if “we the people” don’t act NOW. With this as the message, the film shows many different people and groups talk about the need to preserve the biodiversity within urban spaces.In the film, a group of school kids protest near the pond with exotic species of flora and fauna in it. The gardener of the nursery near the pond Amaratham narrates her woes. She is unhappy that the nursery has been closed down forever and along with it the Heritage village pond will be closed down too.
Factual information was procured using the RTI (Right to Information)Act, and the film attempts to document the current socio-political scenario of Chandigarh on issues such as green policies, dwindling areas of green corridor, environment policies vs. on ground implementations etc.Picturesque shots of Chandigarh city juxtaposed with powerful interviews of Shri. Sundarlal Bahuguna, officials, tourists etc, make the film a statement from the citizens to the government, urging the State to protect its commons.Evoking the pride of the citizens, the film has valuable archival footage of Le Corbusier where he talks about the philosophy of ‘Open hand’. “The seed of Chandigarh is well sown. It is for the citizens to see that the tree flourishes”.
Stating that “Karo ya Maro” should be the attitude, Shri Sundarlal Bahuguna says “Development should be for common people and not for the select few”. It highlights the ‘GREEN’ eye wash by Chandigarh administration and its fake claims of planting one million trees. Footage reveals that this was a major failure in terms of on ground implementation of Greening Chandigarh action plan-08 (with information obtained through the help of the RTI Act).Veteran Architect Mr. MN Sharma (1st Indian Chief Architect of the city) talks about haphazard growth of the city and Chandigarh being gripped by the Land Mafia, where the Public is being fooled in the name of Public Private partnership.
The City Awakens
The film was finally ready after several months of sleepless nights and one threat. Since the first screening of the film last year, Chandigarh has woken up and is fighting back through silent protests. These protests have taken different forms, including painting workshops, letter writing competitions at the Heritage pond, forming human chains and the screening of the film in different schools across the city followed by group discussions. A photo exhibition was put up by Government college of Arts along side an exhibition of paintings and protest letters by more than 1000 school children.
Since the release of the film on Oct 18th 2011, the project has come to a stop and FILE C-215 has been closed.For a film that was made with zero budget and reused tapes, the high point was when the court ordered that the land be developed only in an eco friendly manner by Chandigarh administration. A butterfly park is underway.
Green Warriors is truly a film by the people, of the people and for the people.