Jaaved Jaffery
Javed Jafferi wants to make documentaries interesting, cool and impactful.

We all know that Javed Jafferi is one of best comedians in Bollywood. But did you know that the actor is spearheading a forum called the Indian Documentary Foundation? Koimoi.com caught up with Javed to try and understand why he believes in the power of documentary films as a medium of change. Read on…

Tell us about the IDF.
Indian Documentary Foundation, or IDF, is a non-profit organisation with the objective of raising funds from various sources to raise the power of documentary making in India. The other objectives of the non-profit are to create awareness and acceptability of documentaries to a level where they become more engrossing.

What are the steps taken by IDF to ensure that documentaries get their due?
Well, apart from getting celebrities and cinemas associated with the documentaries, I believe in proper packaging. A documentary is a product and any product has to be packaged properly to do well. IDF is trying to get various people together to make documentaries interesting, cool and ,at the same time, impactful.

Three C’s: corruption, communalism and censorship, are big blocks to our prosperity.

What issues are raised by the documentaries?
Various… some very light issues and some very serious ones. We want to take up issues from within India: be it social, environmental, political or even tribal. We have a lot of issues from corruption to ill-effects of pesticides or the question of some tribes being stereotyped. We want people to know what is going around them.

I believe there are three C’s: corruption, communalism and censorship, which are big blocks to our prosperity. They are the core problems and people should know about this.

People seem to shy away from realistic cinema; why so?
Yes, we are into escapist issues. It is all about clubs and which cars people drive. Escapism won’t die but we want to create a balance. We want to tell people about reality through an audio-visual medium and package it properly so that we can bring them closer to the reality.

In England, 20 per cent of cinemas are dedicated to documentaries.

What mediums are available to documentaries; can we have special cinemas or screenings?
You know, in England, 20 per cent of cinemas are dedicated to documentaries. We are talking to some cinema house owners so that we can keep special screening times for documentaries like Sunday mornings, but it will take time. We have other mediums like television, internet and mobile phones which have a larger reach and availability. I believe mobile phones and internet are very powerful mediums.

Is IDF taking any steps to encourage students who want to make documentaries in remote places?
It is not possible to reach everywhere, but we will have workshops and forums to reach out to people who want to make documentaries.

What is your role in IDF?
I work behind the curtain, I am a capitalist and a facilitator; I put on my own money for making documentaries and work as a facilitator since people know me. There is a team of personnel which runs IDF.

Do people believe that you are associated with this serious cause as people associate fun and comedy with you?
(Laughs) Yes, to an extent. But that it is my job as an actor and I am funny on screen, doesn’t mean that I am not serious about what is happening around us.

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