A festival of livelihood films

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A festival of livelihood films

Of the many annual film festivals held in Delhi these days, Jeevika holds a special place. A Centre for Civil Society initiative, it does not just compile scenic documentaries or those made by amateurs, but presents a bouquet of thoughtful films which talk about livelihood, Jeevika.

So when CCS presented the 10th edition of Jeevika: Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival at India Habitat Centre recently, the entire intelligentsia and academic community of Delhi marked their presence. After all, there were no less than 38 brilliant documentaries from 10 countries, a related photo exhibition, talks by eminent personalities and even a music concert in the offing.

Avinash Chandra of CCS informs Metrolife, “We are happy that Jeevika has touched so many people. When we started in 2004, there were very few film entries. This time, we got award-winning documentaries from US, UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh and even China. Therefore, we were also able to extend it to four days from the regular
three days.”

“More and more celebrities like cricketer Murali Karthik, Congress leader Veerappa Moily, author Arundhati Roy and veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayyar are also joining us, helping us spread the message more effectively.”

Jeevika aims to capture livelihood challenges faced by the rural and urban poor and bring to light policies and regulations that limit the livelihood freedom of the poor. So this time, the fest opened with No Problem! – Six Months With the Barefoot Grandmamas by Yasmin Kidwai – a film on women being trained as solar engineers in Rajasthan. Then Green School of Indonesia by Giovanni Mo, Cotton For My Shroud by Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl, and many others followed.

The second day’s highlights were The Herbal Juice Seller (by Sarla Kashyap), Vanishing Colours Shrinking Threads (Kakli Chakrabarty and Shantanu Mitra) and When Shankar Nag Comes Asking (Sushma Verappa). The Herbal… traces the lives of herb cultivators in Chhattisgarh, Vanishing… talks about the tradition of handloom in rural Bengal and When Shankar… analyses how the autodrivers of Bangalore truly form the identity of the city.
Apparently, Congress leader Veerappa Moily and his wife Malti Moily hadn’t seen their daughter Sushma’s work till now. They saw Shankar for the first time at the first time at the Jeevika festival.

The last two days enthralled equally with films like Beyond the Veil (Anusha Nandkar), Can We See The Baby Bump Please (Surabhi Sharma), Rags to Pads (Chithra Jayaram), The Donkey Fair (Rakesh Shukla), Meet Mr Toilet (Jessica Yu) etc. Sufficient fodder for the thoughtful until next year.   

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