Friday, 28 June 2013

Film Club

The Department of Sociology, Christ University, conducted the inaugural ceremony of the Film Club today on June 26 2013, Wednesday at Sky View, Central Block, from 12-1 pm. All those who were interested were invited for the film screening and then a discussion with the filmmaker Prof. Aasita Bali.
            Prof Aashita Bali is from the department of Media Studies and currently the assistant professor. She holds a degree in and has also completed her MCS and MPhil Programe. She has also been part of the organizing committee of various seminars like ‘Media Meet’, ‘Voices from Waters’, international film festival etc. which have been held in Christ University itself.
            Here today was held the screening of her documentary ‘Red Salt’ which was of the duration 8 minutes 17seconds and addressed the women of Gujrat who worked in saltpans. The very idea of this documentary roots to when Prof. Bali was working in ISRO as an assistant. It was working with a NGO who were targeting for make-shift schools for children living in the desert areas. It was then when the idea for the focus upon women came upon. Thus resulting in this documentary which not only shows how the women work despite difficulties but also their way of looking at the very prospect of work. The self-sacrificing attitude of the women wherein they think of certain things as their duty.
            Prof. Bali said that documentary is not a popular form of expression as many of us may do agree. It started with the 2nd world war for the purpose of propaganda. The filmmakers struggle in the process to get themselves through. Unlike a feature film it does not work for entertainment purpose.
            The film ‘Red Salt’ addresses the lives of the women in Gujrat who work in saltpans in extreme harsh weather conditions. Their lives are nomadic and therefore they do not have access to the health and nutrition care. The children too because of this are deprived of education and ends up doing the same. India produces 12-17 million salts every year and 70 per cent of it is contributed by theses Gujrat women. Yet they do not have the basic necessities of life. They are paid as much as only Rs.20/day and Rs 2/kg (approx). Due to the saline water they do not even have proper drinking water because of which they face severe health problems. Once a week the truck carrying drinking water comes for which the people have to walk for 5kms. The film began by depicting the wounds, swelling, sores etc that women had as a result of their work in saltpans. These as mentioned do not even heal and just gets worse. It starts with itching and then burning and ultimately leads to the selling of the organ. During winter the pain increases all the more. In one part of the film it is shown the contrasting attitudes of the women by the songs they sung which were their own form of expression.
            The immediate reaction was one of utter shock and the harsh reality behind the pinch of salt that we all have every day. There is an attempt to question why women are not treated equally as men? Why the government despite being aware does nothing? Many of the top most companies primarily get salt from this region yet it remains what we saw. This is an ugly truth that the women themselves now know and live for. Provisions like rubber shoes or gloves are mostly given to the men and whatever little the women get they give it to their children. Such a self-scarifying attitude needs to be changed but this is only possible with knowledge which they certainly lack.
            This has been a self-funded film made with pure honestly and hard work in order to make us all see and understand the importance of the ‘pinch of salt’. Therefore this film has been very touchy and informative for all of us. I would like to thank Prof Aashita Bali for sharing with us such a wonderful piece of her work the ‘Red Salt’ as it is very aptly put.  

Report by Anusuya Borkotoky
MA Applied Sociology
Christ University

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