Ranchi, Jharkhand | September | 27, 2023 ::
The remarkable tale of AKHRA and Jharkhand’s indigenous filmmaking was celebrated today, through a launch of Dr. Sudarshan Yadav’s book “Meghnath and Biju Toppo- Filmmakers from Jharkhand’ in an event held at the St. Xavier College, Ranchi, among the gathering of distinguished filmmakers, academicians, scholars, and cinephiles.
Mahadeo Toppo, Sahitya Akademi Member from Jharkhand, was the chief guest on this occasion.
He was joined with Dr. Nabor Lakra, Principal, St. Xavier’s College, the filmmaker duo, Meghnath and Biju Toppo, award winning young filmmakers from Jharkhand, Niranjan Kujur and Seral Murmu, Dr. Santosh Kiro and Dr. Neel Kusum Kullu. All the dignitaries together officially launched the book.
The occasion was especially honoured by the appearance of the Chief Guest of the event, Mahadev Toppo, writer & poet, who while congratulating the author, applauded the remarkable contributions and works of AKHRA. Shri Toppo remarked that this is a significant contribution in archiving the cinematic art of Jharkhand. He was more than happy that now the work Meghnath and Biju Toppo would be part of scholarly and academic discourses. Dr. Amrit Kumar and Sunil Badal were also present.
The proceedings commenced with a warm welcome address by Santosh Kiro, Head of the Department, Mass Communication, St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, and introduction of esteemed guests by Rupesh Kr Sahu, AKHRA, who set the stage for an enlightening afternoon. Welcoming the dignitaries, Mr. Kiro said that he is happy to host Meghnath and Biju Toppo who are having long association with St. Xavier’s College.
We are happy that a book on them is being launched in the department where they have worked tirelessly for past many decades to develop new generation filmmakers from Jharkhand”.
Post welcome session, the author, Dr. Sudarshan Yadav, Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jharkhand provided an insightful glimpse into the book’s contents. Reflecting on the book, Dr. Yadav mentioned that “this book is a part of monograph writing project given by National Film Archive of India. Now the work and art of this filmmaker duo would be part of the film archives.
He said that he is more than happy to compile the life stories and struggles of these two remarkable filmmakers from Jharkhand.” It was followed by the official inauguration of the book, ‘Meghnath and Biju Toppo- Filmmakers from Jharkhand’ by distinguished guests.
The occasion also marked the presence of Dr. Nabor Lakra, Principal, St. Xavier’s College Ranchi, who highlighted the institution’s rich history and the pivotal role played by the Department of Mass Communication. The event was further graced by the address of the visionary founders of AKHRA, Biju Toppo and Meghnath, themselves, who congratulated Dr. Yadav on his book launch and shared the inspiring story of AKHRA’s inception and its glorious journey committed to indigenous culture, communication, and human rights. Sharing the experience, Toppo narrated the inspiring story of the beginning of Akhra and how they started the movement of creating space for marginalised voices particularly tribal voice in media.
Meghnath reflected on the beginning and contribution of Akhra in becoming a mouthpiece for tribal voice. He presented a story of Akhra to the young students attending the event. He emphasized that how the young students can tell significant stories through films and even can earn their livelihood with it. He narrated the stories of different stories of his students, Niranajan Kujur and Seral Murmu as young promising filmmakers from Jharkhand, whom the duo groomed.
Filmmakers Seral Murmu and Niranjan Kujur, too were present during the book launch. While Mr. Murmu delivered his thoughts on his journey from a student life to the present day filmmaker. He underlined the efforts of Meghnath and Biju Toppo in grooming young talents of Jharkhand. Mr. Kujur reflected on the “Dreams & Scope of Filmmaking in Jharkhand”. He read the section from the book where Meghnath talked about the unfulfilled dreams; the dream of creating a cinema making environment in Jharkhand and how young people can play role in this.
The proceedings were concluded with the vote of thanks by Dr. Neel Kusum Kullu, Assistant Professor, St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi and a film screening of “Gaon Chorab Nahi & Sohrai. The event was attended by dignitaries and students of St. Xavier’s and CUJ. The students enthusiastically asked many questions.
The duo, Biju Toppo and Meghnath, founded Akhra in 1996 that has produced more than 30 documentary films and many of them have received National and International recognitions. They have made many award-winning films which are based on burning issues relevant to indigenous people’s survival in India and have been thrice awarded the prestigious National Film Awards by the President of India for their films. The author of the book, Dr. Sudarshan Yadav is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jharkhand. He has more than 11years of teaching and research experience. He holds a PhD in Mass Communication from Banaras Hindu University. He has dedicated his research to the indigenous filmmakers of Jharkhand, shedding light on their extraordinary contributions to the world of cinema. This book is available in hardbound and paperback on Amazon and Sarat Book House’s website.