Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lost in the crowd

In Search of My Home is a documentary that depicts the trials and tribulations that refugees face in India

Phiar Vang, an old woman originally from Burma, lived in India for the past 22 years. She succumbed to tuberculosis because her family couldn't afford the medication and she wasn't provided with free government medical aid like thousands of other unregistered refugees don't in India.

In Search of My Home is a documentary directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, which talks about the day-to-day problems that the refugees face in our country. "India houses a huge number of refugee population, but yet there isn't any comprehensive domestic refugee law, that could guarantee them their basic human needs and a life of dignity," says Thomas. She informs that the refugees need to be registered by the UNHCR-UN Refugee Agency, after which they get proper education, healthcare and other facilities. "But there are many people like Vang, who can't get registered and are left in the lurch," she says.

Thomas and Ghosh researched for a period of almost eight months on refugees and their lifestyle. Both Ghosh and Thomas have obtained their MA in mass communication from the Jamia University in Delhi and are documentary film-makers. "We interacted with the refugees staying in west Delhi and came to know about their problems," says Thomas. It took them three months to finish the shooting and the post-production of the documentary.

The documentary was made as a part of the Infochange Media Fellowships, which are awarded every year by the Centre for Communication and Development Studies (CCDS) to researchers, writers and film-makers to cover a subject related to social justice or development in India.

The film has two stories - one of an old Burmese woman and another of an Afghani man called Masoud, who has to take care of his wife and eight children. The documentary, which is based out of New Delhi, is in various languages like Hindi and Chin--a Burmese language and has English subtitles. "The characters narrate their own stories in this documentary," says Thomas, who co-owns Black Ticket Films with Ghosh. "This film will be screened in different parts of the world on June 20, i.e. World Refugees Day," says Hutokshi Doctor, director, Centre for Communication and Development Studies.

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