Eleven-year-old Shraddha Shukla, attempting to swim about 500 km in the Ganga from Kanpur to Varanasi to spread the message of ‘clean Ganga,’ waded into a controversy with documentary filmmaker Vinod Kapdi alleging that the young swimmer is not swimming the whole length as claimed by her and also released videos to prove that she has been covering a lot of distance on a boat.
Shraddha’s father Lalit Shukla, who has been accompanying his daughter ever since she began her journey from Massacre Ghat in Kanpur on Sunday , countered Kapdi’s allegations and told TOI on Saturday that Kapdi should provide video evidence to substantiate his charge. He also said he will suspend expedition mid-way if the charges are proved right, or else, will press defamation charges against filmmaker after he returns to Kanpur.
Kapdi, who has won a National Award in 2014 for his documentary film ‘Can’t Take This Shit Anymore’ and made his feature debut with `Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho’ last year, began filming Shraddha’s efforts since Wednesday for a documentary.
Kapdi, who said he had come down from Mumbai with his team to film Shraddha’s “feat,” told mediapersons here on Friday , “After three days of covering the expedition, we found that the girl swims hardly for 500 meters at a stretch and not more than 3km a day . Whenever they spot people on the river bank, she climbs down in the river water and starts swimming,” said the filmmaker at the press conference. Kapdi added that he was “shocked to see how the girl was being worshipped by elders of the villages who thought her to be an incarnation of the Ganga herself.”
“Even the associates of the girl’s father, including Man Singh Paswan, two divers Pintu and Ram Milan Nishad too accepted on camera that she swims barely for 500 mts, and not more than 2km to 3km in a day,” claimed Kapdi, who had produced and directed various documentaries and shows including those on Parliament attack, 2611Mumbai attack and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.