Women from slums zoom their lenses on social causes | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Women from slums zoom their lenses on social causes

mumbai Updated: Aug 01, 2011 02:10 IST
Reetika Subramaniam

When 28-year-old Yashodhara Salve would walk to her slum in Lokhande Marg, Chembur, she would wince every time she heard men pass lewd remarks at her.

But all that changed once Salve and other women in the neighbourhood picked up a camera to film their plight and found that it was, in fact, a strong weapon to fight the eve-teasers.

Salve, a volunteer with the Mumbai-based non-profit organisation Akshara and other members of the community video unit of Apna TV recently completed a short film, "Missing Girls".

"Having seen our work and its reach, the men now treat us with respect," said Salve, who joined the organisation as a college student five years ago.

Apna TV hopes to screen the film - which highlights the issue of female infanticide - in buses, college festivals and other slums.

"Female infanticide needs to be discussed at the grassroots level. By involving people from our localities in the filmmaking process, right from scripting to acting, it becomes easier for them to relate to the issues," said Salve.

The 15 films made by the production unit set up in 2006 include Jor Se Bol, Soch Sahi, Mard Wahi and Sauchalay Humara Mulhut Adhikar. The films have been screened at slums in Mankhurd, Govandi, Cheetah Camp and Vashi Naka.

The films deal with basic issues such as the lack of toilets in slums and bigger issues such as the dearth of women in Indian sports.

"As the name suggests, the production house captures the reality of the people," said Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara.

Samata Jadhav, 24, who heads the production team said, "Making films with and for people is the purest form of democracy. People get to ask questions at the end of the screenings."

Jadhav said that while working on a film, the team has a basic concept in mind but the screenplay is shaped by what people say. "In Jor se Bol, college students and men owned up to eve-teasing and groping women. Their admission was startling," said Jadhav.