Grassroots framed in time

Filmmaker Vijay S Jodha’s screening is a brilliant account of tales unheard

By   |  Published: 21st Aug 2018  11:46 pmUpdated: 21st Aug 2018  5:48 pm

You mobilise a woman, you mobilise an economy. Documenting a vivid spectrum of issues, Sunday’s screening of Gurgaon-based writer, photographer and filmmaker, Vijay S Jodha’s works in Lamakaan, Banjara Hills, was an impactful body of work to watch.

Starting off with his 7-minute short documentary, Poop on Poverty, Jodha takes us on an expedition to Pushkar’s camel fair, where we see tourists, and women clad in ethnic attire, gathering poop. The widely-acclaimed short, talks about desert geniuses who gather poop to fuel their ovens, unlike the tourists who return to their fancy hotels for a meal.

Another hard-hitting docudrama, Pedaling to Freedom, filmed in 2005, features the contribution of Arivoli Iyakkam in Pudukottai, to a year-long journey of literacy and women empowerment in the district in the year 1992. Kannamma narrates the story of teaching 70,000 women to ride bicycles and mopeds in order to get themselves freedom, catching the eye of UNICEF, who then funded the neo-literacy movement.

The films are not all serious, with two shorts like The Wedding Anniversary and Say Cheese, giving the viewers the much-needed guffaws and the time to snap out of the cogent content.

Displaying one of his ongoing works, A Rough Guide To Wholesome Entertainment, Jodha converses with legends like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mahesh Bhatt, and director of Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum — Jose Lal, among others, to find out what makes a film wholesomely entertaining — what it takes to receive the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

With his early education from Hyderabad and then graduating in Filmmaking at New York University, the reputed filmmaker has five books to his name, his projects receiving 74 honours in 24 countries. The recipient of 16 best director/film awards, Jodha has five of his noted works archived in the US Library of Congress.