Amid the ongoing Lok Sabha election, Pa Ranjith’s Neelam Productions has released their second short film in the #VoteOutHate campaign. Titled ‘Share Auto’, the short film has been directed by Jeny Dolly, who has assisted Ranjith in films like Kabali and Kaala. The short film is based on the popular urban legend that casteism is dead. It brings to light the racial-religious discrimination that exists in society.
What is the short film about?
According to the The News Minute, the film shows a fair skinned, middle-class upper caste woman boarding a shared auto with her face flinched as she looks at the co-passengers. In that small space, the woman maintains a ‘safe’ distance from the woman next to her, a dark-skinned person, dressed in a blue sari commonly worn by sanitation workers.
Though the blue sari clad woman adjusts and givers her space to sit, the woman shows signs of resistance and gives her unpleasant expression. Despite the driver’s advice to sit properly, the upper caste woman does not listen and ends up banging her head when the auto jerks. Her fellow passenger, who had noticed all along with the antics of the upper caste woman to avoid physical contact with her, smiles and slips on her earphones. The fair-skinned lady ends up rubbing shoulders with her, despite best efforts. The moral of the story appears – ‘Discrimination is injurious to health. Practice discrimination at your own risk’, followed by #VoteOutHate, states the report.
The director, Jeny informed that while the ideas for the short film was discussed, similar experiences were recounted by many right from the top of their minds. The report quoted Jeny, as saying, “Such experiences are routine.It has happened in buses and also share autos.” Sheeba Rampal, who plays the woman in the blue sari, is an assistant director and Jeny says she’d always wanted to cast her in a film because of her expressive eyes.
Finding a woman for the role of upper caste woman was a bit difficult until they found Jaya Swaminathan, who has now played the role.
Neelam Productions wanted to take a stance about the Lok Sabha elections and that’s why two short films were produced. They were executed at a breakneck speed of just a week’s time. “It was last minute but we wanted to do something to remind people about what the last five years have been,” said Jeny. She added that while social issues like these could not be changed overnight, their short film was received with great response. The first short film was directed by Rajesh Rajamani. It takes on the issue of eating beef. Jeny reportedly revealed that Neelam Productions would like to follow the ‘Amul model’ – making art in response to current topics.
While many of us believe that discrimination and casteism does not exist anymore, at least in urban spaces, the reality is far away from it. Documentaries like these, help to showcase the realities that many people are subjected to and at the same time, helps to highlight important social and humanitarian issues which plagues the society.