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Millions Can Walk


Christoph Schaub und Kamal Musale

Hundreds and thousand of Indian indigenous inhabitants and landless farmers–demand their right to existence by making a 400 km protest march.






DCP 25fps / 1: 1.85


5.1 Dolby Digital


Switzerland, India



German, French, English


Hundreds and thousand of Indian men and women – indigenous inhabitants and landless farmers – demand their right to existence by making a 400 kilometre protest march. «Millions Can Walk» focuses on their violence-free fight for their rights – a political yet philosophical and poetic film.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women, landless farmers and the Adivasis – Indian aborigines – underway on foot. On dusty roads, on the National Highway, through villages and cities. Large-scale exploitation of mineral resources, the construction of immense plantations and tremendous infrastructure projects have resulted in the fact that these people have been and still are being driven from their homes and robbed of their peaceful existence.

Now they have come together from all across the land to fight for an honorable existence. Led by the charismatic Rajagopal, leader and pioneer of the movement.

Their protest march leads from Gwalior to Delhi - 400 kilometers away. They endure the heat, defy illnesses, and take on hardship and deprivation. Because one thing is clear to them: they will persevere and only return home once the government heeds their demands.

It is as if the poor and oppressed of the whole world are rising up and speaking out. And energetically pointing out that they are not willing to accept the violation of their rights. Their march, based on the idea of Gandhi’s philosophy of passive resistance, will go down in history and will be covered by the most important international media. The world can no longer look away

How can one fight for one’s rights without using violence? With such an important contemporary question, the film of Christoph Schaub and Kamal Musale spreads far beyond the borders of India. It shows the multiple facets of this imposing protect march, plunges into what is happening along the way. And it focuses over and over again on some of the participants and their fateful stories as well as the into daily realities of these proud people.

«Millions Can Walk» is a militant yet philosophical and emotional film with surprising pictures of great metaphorical power. It is captivating to the very end: Will these men and women be successful? Will the government fulfill their demands?


What is happening in India is happening all over the world: in Brazil, in China, in Indonesia – a race is going on in the so-called emerging countries / threshold countries. All these countries want to catch up as much as they can with the rich countries of the world. They want to be attractive for investments and match up their growth rate with the world market. In this regard, no consideration can be taken in India for the traditions of the indigenous people or the untouchables. Capitalism in its present-day global character – without guardrails, without ethics, without religion – is heading for an apocalypse, all-consuming, without ideas for the future.

This may be a drastic description, but its garish portrayal is reality for our protagonists Pankhi Bai, Ghinnu Kole, Sushmita, Selva, Lakshmi and Biras Topno. They represent the 100'000 people who are marching to Delhi, and, who in turn, represent hundreds of millions of landless persons as well as farmers and indigenous people who have been expelled from their land.

My personal starting point

The Indian subcontinent interests me and has interested me for quite sometime in a special way – with its fascinating political history, its complex and tension-filled social and religious structure and its quite modern conception of statehood. This interest is based not only, but also, on my family situation.

After a trip with my family through the southern part of Tamil Nadu we spent a few days (somewhat coincidentally) in the Training and Cultural Interaction Centre CESCI of Ekta Parishad. It was very exciting for us to meet the people there and discover their social and political work, as well as experience their thoughts and their deep conviction. At that time, they told us about the idea of a gigantic march involving 100'000 people, which they were planning for the year 2012.

I could not get over the idea of this event and began to think about the possibility of making a film about it. A year later, the producer Franziska Reck encouraged me to consider actually proceeding with the project. She herself is politically and personally very interested in this theme.


The idea of making a film with a specific political subject interested me after such a long time. Not a political film in the sense of agitation and propaganda, but rather a film dealing with politics. And my interest lies also in making the resistance and fight of indigenous people and landless farmers visible – to show the methods of their resistance – so as to be able to understand non-violence better.

My interest was additionally fired by current political events – the upheavals in the Arabic world, which began peacefully, mainly in Egypt and Tunisia, in contrast to the very bloody conflict in Syria.

The producer Franziska Reck and I agreed – we wanted to make this film.

Together with Paolo Poloni I made an extensive research trip to many places and spoke with many people in India. We had conversations with Indian politicians and journalists; we studied the organisation Ekta Parishad in depth. We researched political, economic and social themes that affected the landless farmers, the indigenous people and the untouchables. We made additional visual research with a camera and tried out diverse cinematic glimpses into Indian reality. This journey gave me a very good basis for working on the film concept.

... much more

Four months before shooting began, I flew once again to Mumbai to make the final preparations.

This journey ended abruptly at the border customs – I had been ‚black-listed’, I was banned from entering the country.

My valid visa in this connection was not relevant. The customs officers were unable to give me a reason for this refusal. Three hours later, thoroughly frustrated, I had to board the same Swiss plane to return to Switzerland. I was confused and troubled. Questions tormented me: And now? Where do we go from here?

Back in Zurich, we were very interested in learning the reason why I had been prohibited from entering India. We crashed into a wall of silence on the part of the Indians. We simply were provided with unofficial information from the Ministry of the Interior in Delhi.

One reason they gave us was that I had already been in a region where tourists do not go – and that with a tourist visa.

The place they mentioned and the time I was there were correct. I was researching in Chhattisgarh in the middle of India, there where there are the most steel plants, where there is unending poverty, where the air and earth are polluted – and in this region there are the Maoist guerrilla organisations of the Naxalites. They rule over an area that is three times as large as Switzerland.

RECK Filmproduktion made several efforts to get help from various networks to have this ‚ban on visa’ lifted. In vain. It quickly became clear that I would not be able to enter India in the near future.

But we definitely wanted to make this film. For reasons of solidarity and convinced of the importance of these peoples’ (the landless farmers and indigenous people) concerns. we were certain that our film would reach a large, international public.

borderline experience

In order to realise this film, we had to find a director who would be capable of directing the filming in India.

We found him! Kamal Musale. He is Indian and Swiss with residence in Mumbai, an experienced director and cameraman and we were able to acquire him for this delicate task. My research and the film concept at hand provided a good basis as well as the necessary prerequisites for his work.

Then we organised the technical conditions that would make it possible for me to view any material shot in India in a relatively short time and provide feedback quickly. Like this, during shooting – first in villages and then during the march – we had regular exchange by mail, Skype and telephone. So we developed a feasible way to work together.

In spite of everything, I do not want to hide the fact that this situation was a borderline experience for me. Sometimes I called myself the ‚remote-director’: by remote control I guided the content and the dramaturgical and artistic decisions. The documentary shooting situation is very complex: it consists of too many decisions on a minute-by-minute basis, the emotional and cinematic access to the protagonists and events and are thus difficult to control. In spite of excellent communication between India and Switzerland I was unable to influence as much as I had anticipated.

Fortunately, Kamal Musale worked well with his crew and I had copious differentiated and cinematographically interesting material from India. However, I had to find my way through the material like a film editor does. She views the material from a professional point of view, without knowing the real situation or the purpose of the director when he is shooting the film. This situation makes it possible for her to productively play the role of a counterpart. Suddenly the editor and director found themselves in practically the same situation. But for me, this role was new and unfamiliar.

I did not have at my disposal the emotional and contextual topography of the material as one usually has from the experiences that occur when one is filming. It was extremely difficult for me to orient myself in the material. I was searching for my stories and persons, the appropriate emphases of themes, people or information that are necessary for making a film narration interesting.

Thanks to the united effort and a somewhat longer cutting period, Marina Wernli and I were, in the end, able to master this difficult situation.

In conclusion I can say that this film was a very enriching experience for me – especially in view of the highly exceptional realisation process and the unconventional collaboration with Kamal Musale.

Christoph Schaub, October 2013

Jan Satyagraha – March for Justice

Jan Satyagraha means «March for Justice». The participants in the march, which begins in Gwalior and leads to the metropolis of Delhi 400 kilometres away, demand straightforwardly the right to existence and respect for their dignity as humans. The landless farmers and the indigenous people in the forests demand the right as hunters and gatherers to live in and from their forest.

Demands made by the participants in the JAN SATYAGRAHA

The new laws guarantee the protection and the basis for the livelihood of the Adivasi. Among other things:

The landless and the homeless get land for building and agriculture.

A wife can now newly acquire or own land without her husband.

In land disputes, speedy legal proceedings are to be applied. In addition, legal assistance is granted free of charge.

The 2006 Law on Forest Rights of the Adivasi is finally to be applied.

The Central Government makes it binding for the States and Union Territories to implement the agreements.

A taskforce, composed of members of the Indian Central Government and the EKTA PARISHAD, will monitor implementation.

Further information:

What has been accomplished up to the present:

Six months after the end of the Jan Satyagraha...

... 70% of the agreements have been adopted by the Central Government.

One year after the end of the Jan Satyagraha…

… 80% of the demands have been accepted in the Central Government and adopted on a legislative level and in commissions of the member states.

For implementation nationwide and for enforcement down to the level of the communities, it is now necessary to maintain the pressure over the coming years, especially with regard to the regional elections this winter and the national election next autumn.

Further information:



Christoph Schaub und Kamal Musale


Christoph Schaub

director of photography

Lorenz Merz, Kamal Musale


Peter Bräker


Balthasar Jucker, Manik Batra


Marina Wernli

Picture Design


Franziska Reck

More Crew Members

Writting Assistant

Paolo Poloni

Project Design

Küde Meier

Assistant Director

Nandita Dutta

Production Manager India

Nupoor Kajbaje

Local Manager India

Pravin Pagare

Line Producer CH

Andrea Bürgi

Sound Designer

Balthasar Jucker

Sound Mixer

Felix Bussmann, SDS Bern


Robert Hunger-Bühler

Narrator English

Phil Hayes

Colour Correction

Ueli Nüesch, Lab54a

Title Design

Brigae Haelg


Peter Volkart

A production of

RECK Filmproduktion Zürich

in co-production with

Schweizer Fernsehen, Redaktion Urs Augstburger

SRG SSR idée suisse, Redaktion Sven Wälti

With the participation of

Bundesamt für Kultur (EDI), Switzerland

Zürcher Filmstiftung


Bildung und Entwicklung, Filme für eine Welt, with the support of DEZA

Stage Pool Focal/ Ernst Göhner Stiftung

Succès Cinéma / Succès passages antennes


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49. Solothurner Filmtage






Mumbai International Film Festival




Thessaloniki Documentary Festival





International Filmfestival Fribourg




Festival del Cinema Africano, d’Asia e America Latina




23. IFFI

Internationals Film Festival Innsbruck




Brave Festival Film




Indisches Filmfestival Stuttgart

Award for Best Documentary




Take one Action,, ,




Filmambiente Rio de Janeiro,,

Rio de Janeiro







Thusis Weltfilmtage




Sudan Independent Film Festival




Nebenrolle Natur








Extravagant India



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