Paparazzi’ is the brain-child of Mithibai College’s BMM Department’s batch of 2012. In the first edition in 2013, the festival played host to more than 30 colleges across Mumbai. Aimed at increasing practical exposure, Dr. Anju Kapoor (Vice Principal) gave Paparazzi a green flag and since then, there’s been no looking back. “BMM is all about fests and extracurricular activities, which teach you more than academics at times! And since it was our first year, we wanted to establish ourselves while ensuring that it was fun,” says the 2013 Paparazzi Chairperson, Nikhil Pai. The ideal result for Paparazzi is to ensure a clean and unbiased space for healthy competition, and to create a platform for young talent across Mumbai. BeBEAUTIFUL got together with the event’s Media Head—Avantika Gopinath to chat with her about this year’s festival. Read on to see what you’re missing and how you can get involved.

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What are the best ways for the youth to get involved in socio-political issues?

The youth of today are quite aware and actively participate in shaping the nation. Mithibai believes in the all-round development of its students. Keeping that goal in mind, the Rotaract Club of Mithibai College organises several social endeavours regularly, from NGO volunteering to awareness rallies, and from beach clean-ups to fund raising and blood donation drives. The National Service Scheme (NSS) also plays an important part in helping increase the in-house as well as public awareness. Apart from the above, the departmental faculty also indulges in staging various socio-political debates, discussions and forums for students during the respective academic years.

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If a student has a problem or an issue with the law, how does he or she begin to address that problem?

In the context of a student having a problem with the law (as a general citizen), he or she can and must approach the local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) as the public representative can address the same at the state secretariat office or Mantralaya. However, for the first-time, Mithibai’s Paparazzi is giving an opportunity to the youth to amend or change a law. They can pitch an amended law in the place of the former with a rationale as well as ensuring that the subjected change would not adhere the administrative, political or judicial working of the state or nation at large.

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What are the top three social causes that college students are affected by? What solutions do you propose for those problems?

Reservations in both, curriculum and professional educational setups, ragging, and eve-teasing are the three raging issues. While the first one continues to be an elusive issue grappled in the political system, the other two can be resolved by making crimes registered under those categories as non-bailable and cognizable.

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What is the biggest hindrance to coming up with solutions to these problems?

Some of the roadblocks include a lack of awareness as well as the exclusion of such issues from the general education system. The public needs to be made aware of such problems at large. Sensitization of the masses must be carried out by the government in association with institutions and social bodies.

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How does one use mass media to effectively convey a political message without adding in any bias?

What certain people forget to understand is that political messages do not need to cater to just one particular party or agenda, but should be aimed at effective governance. Messages promoting voting, political awareness, social problems as well as issues affecting the progress of the society at large must be echoed across all media forums. The media should act as a ‘Watchdog’ for the society at all times.

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How do you keep the message intact even after the festival?

With an integrated approach after the festival, team Paparazzi has thought to maintain a connect with the participating colleges via their student forums and associations. With festivals being staged across various colleges in the island city, the message to bring in a much-needed change in the socio-political scenarios across the state will be conveyed at large and echoed throughout the academic year.

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Who are the various social bodies and personalities who are getting involved in this festival, and what expertise are they bringing to it?

The Mayor of Mumbai, Snehal Ambekar will be attending as the Chief Guest of the festival, and she happens to be the first woman from a Dalit community to take the chair. She has always advocated the empowerment of women, free education and political awareness amongst a rural populace and has added more zing to this college media fest.

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How important is it for people to get actively involved and how can students who may not have access to funds/influencers help make a change?

There are various opportunities created specifically keeping people who do not have large or unlimited funds or resources in mind. Model United Nations, mock parliaments and other such organisations help students serve a higher purpose with resources being provided from institutions themselves.

Photo credits: Mithibai’s BMM Paparazzi