'The Fight for Delhi-NCR’s Lifeline': A film exploring the depths of issues affecting Aravallis
The film voices the concerns of people who are a part of the movement, experts and activists, about the government’s attempt at diluting laws that safeguard the green cover and wildlife of the forests
After over 35 years of telling stories about others, director Chandramouli Basu wanted to share one that he was a part of. A lot of things came to mind, but one stood out.
Basu wanted to make a film about the Aravalli Bachao movement, an environmental issue he strongly felt about. He recognised that it needed to be told in a simple, snappy way, so that it reaches more people, and makes them realise “what they stand to lose if our wild spaces are destroyed”.
And thus came in RoundGlass Sustain, which helped Basu bring his vision to life. The organisation is working on a series of short films on “wild spaces” amidst us that need to be protected. Basu’s film, 'The Fight for Delhi-NCR’s Lifeline', premiered the series.
The film voices the concerns of people who are a part of the movement, experts and activists, about the government’s attempt at diluting laws that safeguard the green cover and wildlife of the forests. Basu says, “It was personally important to me to show residents of the NCR how stunningly beautiful their own backyard is and why it's vital to save them.”
It was all the more important to him because Basu himself has been a part of the Aravalli Bachao movement since 2019, when people first banded together to fight against the PLPA amendment being brought in by the government.
The director strongly feels that forests are viewed as prime land today, just areas that can be encroached and used for development or construction. But, says Basu, “Forests are there to protect our environment and ensure that groundwater recharge happens as it should. They are home to a number of wild animals and trees that share the planet with us.” And he feels it’s important we don’t forget how much we owe to nature.
While citizens and activists are actively working towards saving the Aravallis, the director says that the government is continuously eroding the laws that protect forests. He explains that Haryana has the lowest percentage of forest cover in all of India, standing at a mere 3.6%. And yet, “even after the Supreme Court’s directives, they keep looking for new ways to de-notify forests and open them up to destruction,” adds Basu.
Since the issue is so close to Basu’s heart, he poured his heart and soul into the film for more than a year. Neha Dara of RoundGlass Sustain, the producer of the series, says, “When Chandramouli reached out to us with his idea of telling the story of the Aravallis, one of Delhi-NCR’s last remaining wildernesses, we immediately agreed. For over a year, the beauty and diversity of the Aravallis was a source of unending joy. But the region's vulnerability also stood out.”
Through his film, Basu wants to give a clear message to people. Save the forests before it is too late. Green spaces within our cities are essential to make urban spaces liveable. Get out there and experience the serene peace of the forests that are a short drive away, says he. And don’t forget that the more you mess with nature, the sooner it comes back to bite you, like climate change.