The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 20 , 2016
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Hope floats in stories of violence

Humein chahiye azaadi, say the children of Apne Aap Women Worldwide with founder president Ruchira Gupta

Salina Khatoon, 10, has a doll she doesn't want to marry off, because like her mother and the lady living opposite her house, she might get beaten up by her husband.

♦ Dolly Mahato loses sleep over the violence against women she witnesses in her area every day and wants to be the shakti that helps women live better lives.

Such stories of violence against women, casteism, intergenerational prostitution, early marriage and the desire to be free from all of them were brought to life through the lenses of children living in the red-light areas of Bihar, Bengal and Delhi.

Twenty-five five-minute films, 10 of which were shown at Film Festival in a Box at Max Mueller Bhavan on Tuesday evening, were the result of a series of mixed media workshops by Apne Aap Women Worldwide, led by film-maker Aseem Asha Usman from Jamia Millia Islamia and supported by the French Cultural Centre.

The films received resounding applause from the audience not only because they portrayed the stark reality of their life in the simplest and most effective manner but also because every film had a message of hope and determination for a better life.

"Bravo to the children and to Apne Aap. I felt very proud being a French civil servant when I learnt that the French embassy had supported this project; at the same time when I was watching the films, sometimes I wasn't very proud to be a man," said Stephane Amalir, director, Alliance Francaise du Bengale.

"Apne Aap is not just an organisation but is also a movement and all of you are part of that movement," said Ruchira Gupta, founder president of Apne Aap. "We are against all forms of intolerance and that is why these films were made, because girls also want peace between men and women, Hindu and Muslim, upper and lower castes and between the rich and the poor."

Gaya Jamana Pitne Ka by Salina Khatoon and Kaali by Dolly Mahato won Rs 10,000 each as prize money. The others received Rs 5,000 each.

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