Vinay Shukla’s Love Letter to Journalism

3 min learn

While We Watched — Vinay Shukla’s riveting documentary starring veteran media persona, and journalist, Ravish Kumar — opened its screening doorways to a world viewers on the forty seventh version of the Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition (TIFF). The documentary captures the viewers proper from the phrase go, with its uncooked footage and an in depth look into Kumar’s private {and professional} areas — his house and the NDTV India newsroom.

[Read Related: “I Hope it Starts a Conversation,” Radhika Madan on Kacchey Limbu at TIFF ’22]

The documentary received the Amplify Voices Award at TIFF.

What makes this award-winning documentary engrossing to observe? Whereas We Watched invokes realism, frame-after-frame, as Kumar units out to battle mob channels — different information channels that ship one-sided, frightening information experiences — in a combat to current true narratives and all sides of the story. This combat primarily consists of a controversial paradigm, one which divides India in an undesirable method; by means of anti-nationalism.

Not solely is Kumar combating towards varied information mammoths to cease nationalistic journalism, and discontinue normalizing hate by means of information, however he additionally finds himself in a rut when his channel suffers due to his efforts to ship the reality to his viewers — the channel’s censorship, and dwindling earnings and workers, depart him with restricted assets to maintain the combat going, however he doesn’t again down. Kumar felt that finally, journalism turns into a “private accountability,” and so, the present should go on.

Shukla’s try to broadcast Kumar’s integrity, and combat towards misinformation, succeeds on this newsroom drama as cameras observe Kumar in his personal try to revive true journalism. And though the documentary involves an finish after a complete runtime of 92 minutes, the efforts to spotlight how tv media is underneath risk, proceed.

Shukla isn’t new to exploring ‘programs’ by means of his movies. His debut look at TIFF featured An Insignificant Man, a non-fiction, political saga primarily based on Arvind Kejriwal.

The issues he brings ahead aren’t mild — politics by means of An Insignificant Man and now, the narrative of nationalism vs. anti-nationalism within the information by way of Whereas We Watched. So, evidently, we wished to know if there was a way of concern in bringing these topics to the foreground. In a chat with Brown Woman Journal, the ace director gave a easy response:


He wished to shine a lightweight on what journalists need to undergo so as to converse the reality. He wished to salute information experiences and the journalists behind the experiences, “who pay a value.” This documentary was like his “love letter to journalism.”

He stated that there was nothing to concern when bringing Whereas We Watched to life, and in flip, he discovered one thing new on set on daily basis. Speaking extra about capturing the movie, Shukla stated that they adopted Kumar in every single place:

We’d begin capturing him as quickly as he got here into his automobile to move to work. We’d observe him across the workplace, transfer round his workplace. [In the evening] we’d arrange the automobile once more and shoot him on the way in which house, and typically even inside his house.

So, why was Kumar excellent for the function? Shukla identified that Kumar has been within the enterprise for many years, seen his fair proportion of ups and downs, and he’s this,

[T]ired hero who was questioning his relevance on this world.

[Read Related: In Conversation with Festival Director Jigar Shah on the Annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival]

Speaking extra about Kumar, Shukla talked about:

Ravish is definitely a really humorous man and I wanted we may present extra of that within the documentary. He really wrote a assessment on Enrique Iglesias’ most up-to-date track on Fb and it’s hilarious. You guys ought to go test it out.

He additional added that though he tried capturing extra of Kumar’s humor within the movie, it, sadly, didn’t match the style or beat.

Will his subsequent be simply as politically charged as An Insignificant Man and Whereas We Watched?

I’m engaged on a fiction mission now. One thing not so heavy. I need to enterprise into one thing new.

Whereas We Watched continues its journey throughout the globe at varied movie festivals, spreading its robust message to audiences one screening at a time. It’s screening at IDFA Amsterdam, this week.


Picture Supply: Documentary Nonetheless/PR

Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance author, primarily based out of Toronto. She enjoys every thing from the vacation season to the chilly climate, and the nice and cozy drinks out there within the winter months- a real Canadian, eh? When she’s not binge-watching her favourite Bollywood films, or sipping on tea and gorging on pakoras (or Timbits), she’s eager on highlighting the heart beat of group points by means of her writing assignments. Sandeep is pushed by her ardour for vogue and writing, and makes use of each as catalysts to specific her individuality; she’s an avid believer within the energy of the phrase.