There is another India
Who would think that despite the stringent rules about sex determination the practice is still rampant? Not just in remote villages somewhere in the north but also in towns just outside Hyderabad and in certain parts of the city too. Who would think that a father will refuse to have anything to do with his new born daughter because all he wanted was a son? We complain about sexual harassment on our streets, but who would have thought that women would shy away from stepping out unescorted after dark even in big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi for fear of being mugged or worse still, raped? That battling lewd comments and gestures is a daily affair for them?
The issues might be oft talked about and debated even on news channels; but Vishy’s films drive home the ground reality. His films talk to the subjects, bring forth the problems they face and even toss up possible solutions without the associated drama; yet they tug at your heartstrings and make you wonder if your own problems might seem trivial. He along with his team at Communications Resource Centre (CRC) makes films that bring out stories that would otherwise remain unheard.
Founded by Vishy and his wife Manisha, CRC will turn three this June and in its short tenure has notched up several achievements. He was recently awarded the Rex Karamveer award instituted by iCONGO in association with the UN and Vishy had also won the Karamveer Global Fellowship last year. “The award is a big leg up for us. We have a lot of alternative stories that we bring into the mainstream. For instance, we did a short film on Shabnam who happens to be the first girl in 500 villages in Rajasthan to have studied. It is our endeavour to bring to light the fact that there lies another India; one that is very different from all the development and urbanisation,” he says. The Karamveer Chakra apart, CRC was also commissioned by ActionAid Vietnam to document the sexual harassment and violence faced by the Vietnamese women. The film not only talks to victims of everyday harassment on the streets of Vietnam but also slyly captures men making lewd gestures. The film was screened in Hanoi by a consortium of organisations in January this year.
“The last six months have been very eventful for us in terms of the work we have been doing. We also partnered with the Humara Bachpan campaign to see what smart cities would be from children’s perspective. We have also partnered with John Hopkins University on three projects,” says Vishy. But the feather in their cap is the fact that for a change an Indian organisation was invited to document problems faced in another country, according to Manisha. “We normally have people from the West come and document our poverty and problems, the fact that we were considered and chosen to document Vietnam’s problems is a matter of pride for us,” she says.
Their work takes the team to remote areas across the country; if it’s a tiny village in Odisha one month then it might be in the hinterland of Bihar the next. “Initially, the biggest challenge we faced was in terms of attracting developmental organisations to partner with us. Today though, that has changed. Making a film in remote areas is not an easy task. We give ourselves a month at the most to complete a project and work with tight deadlines and difficult conditions. But at the end of the day they are projects that are close to our hearts. And with a strong team like ours we pull it off,” smiles Vishy.
CRC’s work doesn’t end with merely making the films. They have often gone above and beyond the call of duty and have at a couple of times been instrumental in initiating rescue operations. One such was when they recently helped rescue children who were being molested by their caretaker in a town in the state. They might come across many such heart rending incidents that leave them humbled and changed human beings, but they soldier on. Currently the organisation is in talks to document an ongoing peace project in Badakhshan in Afghanistan.
They have often gone above and beyond the call of duty and have at a couple of times been instrumental in initiating rescue operations.
Reference Link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/there-is-another-india/article7071361.ece