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Child Marriage, a daring documentary film shot in guerilla-style!!
• 1. Spotlight on Children human right issues..
Arranged child marriages: In parts of India, parents marry their little children. Neeraj shows 60 children being married in this film. For the first time, this film shows shocking never before captured footage. No newspaper, TV program, film or any other media have revealed this truth about parents engaging their children before they are born.
Is child marriage a blessing or a children human rights issue? You decide. This is the central theme of this documentary. Child marriage is a tradition practiced in select parts of the world. UNICEF has declared this as a human rights issue. Neeraj the filmmaker, decided to embark on an exploratory journey of discovery. He focused on India, his home country, specifically the states of Rajasthan and Haryana.
• 2. A focus on women rights issues.
Sati temple: Although illegal, temples dedicated to Sati still exist in India. Hindus cremate their dead. A Sati is a woman (widow) who is cremated alive with her husband's dead body on his funeral pyre. By becoming a Sati, the woman attains the status of a goddess because she has proved her complete faithfulness towards her husband. Neeraj went to a temple that draws huge crowds and it turned out to be a Sati temple.
Veil: Even in these modern times, where technology rubs shoulders with the mystic in India, some women are not allowed to show their face in public. During the filming, Neeraj noticed that a lot of women who were attending the marriage ceremony had hidden their faces behind veils.
• 3. Social injustice is highlighted.
Child marriage amongst Untouchable Caste (the lowest caste): Neeraj got an opportunity to film the marriage of two brothers belonging to the untouchable caste. He noticed that their customs and rituals were a little different from that of Hindu marriages in other castes. During the marriage procession, Neeraj witnessed a long forgotten custom where the groom draws strength from his mother before doing a brave deed. All the way through the marriage ceremony, a lamp was lit instead of the nuptial fire. The bride and the groom were wearing shoes during the sacred marriage ceremony. Usually, shoes are not allowed in a scared place. Indian society discriminates upon people belonging to this caste. People of higher caste will not like to physically touch them. They will not attend their functions and neither will they drink or eat anything prepared by the untouchables. They are social outcastes.
Caste system The caste system is seeped deep into the Indian society. It is one of the strongest unifying factors between people of different religions in India. Modern India is divided into four major castes, namely, upper castes, other backward castes, schedule tribes and schedule castes. Neeraj did not find any instances of child marriages in upper castes.
• 4. A glimpse of animal right violation
Cobra dance: Neeraj met with snake charmers in India. Traditionally, people of the snake charmer keep snakes. Snakes play an important role in Indian mythology. The snake charmers extract poison from the snakes and sell it. They kill them to make medicines and show cobra dances to earn money. It is illegal to keep snakes in captivity in India. Neeraj was able to get striking footage of the snakes dancing. The poison sacs of the snakes were full and he was standing at a distance of less than a foot away when he captured them on camera.
• 5. Enjoy unique music and dances:
Ladies music and dances: Neeraj captured rare glimpses of women dancing at dusk. As a rule, men are not allowed in such places. The villages are in very remote areas were there is no electricity.
Men music and dances: He also filmed never before seen footage of the older men of the family dancing on the occasion of the marriage of the grand son.
Animal dance and music : The film shows cobras swaying to the tunes of the snake charmer, at times aggressive and at times mellifluous.
• 6. A visual tour of the fascinating places in Rajasthan.
Tourist attration: During filming of child marriages Neeraj found many unique interesting places. Come, tour with Neeraj and visit some of the magical places not listed in the tour book.
Visit an ancient Shive temple that is thousands of years old.
See the ancient massive stone idol of Bahu Bali, a Jain seer.
Visit the Bharathari temple : that was built in memory of the King Bharatari Hari. The king left all worldly pleasures and became a monk when he found out that his wife had being unfaithful to him.
Abandon City: Walk with Neeraj thru the abandoned city where people scared to set foot.
Other famous places: Pass thru India gate in Delhi and see the beauty of the Hawa Mahal (palace of the winds) In Jaipur.
• 7. People problems highlighted:
Water problem: Water is scarce in Rajasthan. Women have to walk miles to get this precious commodity every day.
Toilet problem: There is no proper sanitation in the villages. There are no toilets.
No medical and emergency's facilities: There is no medical or emergency infrastructure in the rural areas. Neeraj was bitten by an alley dog at 3:00 am night. The dog dug in three teeth in Neeraj's back as he was bending down. Startled, Neeraj straightened up and the dog hung on to his back. He had the shake the dog to disengage his teeth. As there was no medical aid, he washed the wounds with soap and water and then used antiseptic wipes. And he had to spend the rest of the night with the dog lying next to his cot in the courtyard. He was able to get medical assistance the next day in a big city after 8 hours.
No Roads: During the journey, Neeraj had to drive over fields and loose sand.
Unsafe traveling: Neeraj shot footage of children going to school by hanging on to overloaded buses or jeeps. On an average, about 200 people ride the bus and about 50 people ride in a jeep.