The biggest reason for making the documentary, ‘The Flip Side’ was the unprecedented hype and sensationalism that was created, related to Saint Asaram Bapu incident, and the way it was created, by the privately funded few Indian media channels. Even after two years of the incident, the often repeated, repulsive headlines, and the one-sided reporting, in context of Saint Asaram Bapu and his Ashrams every other day, shows just how the issue is still being pursued so vehemently by such media houses. We wanted to go beyond the hype to find out the truth, and know what the actual ground reality is. In this dilemma and anxiety, my team decided to address it by visiting one of his oldest and biggest ashrams, and spend a long time there, talking to the people who live there, and understanding the reality.
Getting permission from the ashram authorities for shooting the documentary was relatively easier and in fact came as a surprise to us. Honestly, we did not expect it, going by the impression that was created by the media reports. As the permission was received, we realized the enormity of the task at hand, and the big challenge and responsibility that accompanied it. We were going into uncharted territory of attempting to present an unbiased, in-depth account of an issue that has reached more than a billion people worldwide by now.
Our team took time to discuss all the aspects of the coverage of the documentary and the shooting. As soon as all the preparations were done, I, along with cinematographer Kaustubh Manchekar started our journey to Saint Asaram Bapu’s ashram in Motera, Ahmedabad. We spent about twenty days there, interacting with each of the inhabitants, and closely observing each and every ashram activity. We asked unrestrained, hard hitting questions based on whatever allegations have been put up, and tried to research all the related aspects without any prejudice, and unabashedly. We watched and analyzed many hours of footage archives, and when our shoot and research was complete, what we had was an unforgettable experience with us. An experience that we can never forget, and a heart wrenching reality, that has not reached the common man, until now. And that’s exactly what THE FLIP SIDE is.
The film was released on November 11, 2015 via DVD and YouTube. I request each and every one of you to see it for yourself once, and then decide. And for the worldwide response from the audience to our documentary’s trailer, I am truly thankful
(Indie Film-maker & CEO at UK Pictures)