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An engaging and insightful dialogue with creative filmmaker Paresh Naik

BY SANJAY PANDYA

Atlanta, GA, October 10, 2023: The International Gujarati Cultural Society in Atlanta, formed in the wake of the successful third Vadilal International Gujarati Film Festival (IGFF) in Atlanta during the summer of 2022, hosted an engaging talk by renowned filmmaker Paresh Naik on October 1, 2023, at the Best Western on Holcomb Bridge Rd. in Norcross, Georgia. Dedicated to preserving and promoting Gujarati culture and arts, IGFF has successfully organized numerous events prior to this occasion.

Mr. Naik, known for his literary talents since a young age, has authored five novels, four full-length plays, short stories, TV and radio serials. He has collaborated with the acclaimed Gujarati film director Ketan Mehta on popular films such as “Bhavni Bhavai” and “Mr. Yogi.” Drawing inspiration from the film industry’s best, Paresh Naik has infused a unique “literary” dimension into his filmmaking craft. His portfolio includes films centered on literary luminaries such as poet Rajendra Shah (entitled “Aimlessly”), Makrand Dave (titled “Saundarya nu Gaan”), and novelist and educator Manubhai Pancholi “Darshak” (titled “Darshak no desh”). Additionally, he has produced over 200 small and large-scale films.

One of Mr. Naik’s notable works, the two-hour feature film “Dhaad,” based on Jayant Khatri’s short story, has set him apart as a distinct filmmaker. Currently, he is in a research and study phase for his upcoming film, “Dharaar (In Desperation).”

Since the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown, Paresh Naik has dedicated his efforts to his new project, “Dharaar (In Desperation).” He shared intriguing video clips of his interviews and discussions at various venues to engage with the audience.

In a startling revelation, a prominent publication uncovered a story about a remote village in northern Gujarat where the entire village population was ensnared in prostitution. A noted social worker became involved and initiated efforts to combat this issue. This news profoundly disturbed Paresh Naik, who learned about the multifaceted socio-political dimensions of “prostitution.” He was appalled by the exploitation of women and how men treated them as commodities, forcing them into the ‘flesh trade’ for profit.

The audience, which included Dr. Asha Parikh, Nimish Bhai Sevek, Mustafa Bhai Ajmeri, Jatin Bhai, and Chaulaben, actively engaged in discussions on the various issues highlighted by Pareshbhai.

When parents coerce their children into this nefarious practice, they often become entangled in vices like gambling and alcohol consumption, perpetuating social ills. These children are also deprived of education and may suffer severe physical and mental health consequences. The plight of women remains a grave concern, irrespective of whether one resides in a developed country like the USA or an underdeveloped nation.

Paresh Naik’s mission is to shed light on the struggles faced by God’s most beautiful creations. Hopefully, he will return to Atlanta soon to engage in many more enlightening debates.

The International Gujarati Cultural Society, Atlanta, through a press release, extended its heartfelt gratitude to Jatin Shah, Nimish Sevak, Mustafa Ajmeri, Sanjay Pandya, all the sponsors, and the media for their unwavering support.

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