TIFF Docs

An Insignificant Man

Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla

Insignificantman 01

Filmmakers Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla follow Arvind Kejriwal, "the Bernie Sanders of India," as he shakes up the complacent and corrupt status quo of Indian politics as the head of the Common Man’s Party.

Call him the Bernie Sanders of India: fed up with rampant corruption in Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal decided to shake things up and challenge the status quo by forming the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party, or AAP) in 2012. This was no small feat in a country that (much like the United States) has an unofficial two-party system composed of the Indian National Congress (Gandhi's former party, which has ruled the country for a total of more than 50 years since independence), and the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party. Campaigning on promises to revoke unfair electricity bills and employing savvy grassroots tactics, Kejriwal went from being a long shot to finding himself a frontrunner in the so-called Battle for Delhi, the crucial state in Indian elections. Kejriwal represented a new political future for India. But the path to revolution is never smooth.

Over the period of a year, filmmakers Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla embedded themselves with Kejriwal and his loyal volunteers, filming rallies, fraught party meetings, and Kejriwal's anti-corruption hunger strike. Combining the directors' original material with carefully chosen news footage, An Insignificant Man is a vital, on-the-ground look of the phenomenon that is the AAP. More than a portrait of Kejriwal, Ranka and Shukla have created a portrait of a country with 29 official languages and 1.3 billion people struggling to achieve real democracy &mdash: a struggle that places in even sharper relief many of the issues and principles at stake in the current US presidential race.

Taking a rightful place alongside other great modern political documentaries such as The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and The Square, An Insignificant Man is a vivid document of India's fascinating political process.

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