Short-films made in local tongue help tackle health issues of tribals

Tribals act and speak in Kotli in the four short-films on tribes of Nandurbar made by a Pune-based firm

Written by Garima Mishra | Pune | Published: September 6, 2013 2:33 am

Four months ago when representatives of Janarth Adivasi Vikas Sanstha (JAVS) approached the Pune-based Punchline Communications with a proposal to make a film on health issues of tribals.

But the team was unsure on how to go about till they visited Shahada,a taluka in Nandurbar,and interacted with the villagers. After the visit,they came up with a cogent action plan.

The tribal belt of Nandurbar suffers from issues of maternal and infant mortality,says Ranjana Kanhere of JAVS. “We have been trying to address the issues through streetplays but wanted to adopt a medium which had a wider reach,” she said.

Kanhere said films as a visual medium strike a chord with the audience instantly and have a better impact. “So we decided to make four short-films that addressed four important issues,” she said. Lagin Kavay Karana is about the right marriage age for a girl and Ben Jivashi Baeela,Kay Kay Khavala deals with the importance of nutrition during

pregnancy.

While Garodar Baeeni Tapasni talked about health checkups during pregnancy,Avval Baytun educates people about the right ways of delivering a child. All the four shortfilms are in Kotli,a language spoken by the tribals of

Nandurbar.

“We didn’t want to make the films in Marathi because though they could have understood it,we wanted a stronger connection,which was only possible if the films were in Kotli,the language they spoke,” says Anurata Tribhuvan,who conceptualised the films.

So while Viraj Munot took care of direction and other technical details,Dr Ajit Wadikar provided medical inputs. Anil Sapkal wrote the script and dialogues. “Initially the script was in Marathi. It was re-written and translated after we spoke to the villagers and discussed the lines and how they are spoken in Kotli,” says Munot. All the four films were shot in a span of five days

at Virpur vasti,a tribal settlement

of around 500 families in

Shahada taluka.

The short-films project received financial assistance from Oxfam and UK Aid. What makes the initiative novel is that all the characters in the films are essayed by the tribal villagers. “All of them participated in the project very enthusiastically,” says Tribhuvan.

The team weaved in stories and presented them in and edutainment form. For instance,in the film ‘Avval Baytun’,that is about right ways of delivering a child,a man is shown milking a cow. He is worried as he knows that his wife is facing lot of complications during pregnancy and yet she is kept in a cattle shed in unhygienic conditions. “The cow asks him what is the difference between a woman and an animal. And does he expect his wife going through the process of delivering a child just like an animal?” says Tribhuvan.

JAVS started showcasing the films around one-and-a-half month ago,and the response has been encouraging,says Kanhere.

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