Jyotirgamay literally translates as ‘from darkness to light’. A profound word which probably works on every aspect of human life to make to better and worth living, it is also an apt title for Gauri Warudi‘s documentary on those real-life heroes or organisations providing education to those who cannot have even basic amenities, forget education. This journalist-turned-filmmaker’s was inspired by her own father’s struggles to get good college education and how the principal of SP College made sure that no student is sent back without admissions and gets the right to education. “His story was my main inspiration, my starting point. My father started with nothing, but met an angel. Till the end, he was overwhelmed by Prof. Dandekar. My father did the same when he was the principal of Ruparel College. On and off, I would read about people’s struggles and would make a note of it. Actually, I had written this script for someone else. Then I thought of making it for myself.”
A few talks with friends and acquaintances got her informed about more names and organisations. For example, one of them was Pradeep Lokhande who himself suggested other names doing similar work like him in the field of education. “Even after completing the documentary, I got many more cases. Cases like the one of Professor Sharma touched me. When you see such people do selfless work, you ask the question of what makes them work. It is the love for children and passion for their work.”
It is fascinating stories like these which makes Warudi make documentaries. She does not make it for profit. But she is satisfied by making them, showcasing them at festivals and getting positive responses. “When I showed it at the Mumbai Short Film Festival, another similar documentary was shown and the NGO which made it, spoke about a tie-up. They spoke of working on common grounds.”
The people’s struggles without any backing or monetary support inspires her and she cannot pick one favourite case-study amongst them. “Someone like Tarabai Modak used educational tools adapted to local needs and this is the uniqueness of their work. Then there is the Generation Next focused too with Apni Shala in Mumbai. Now they have been recognised as Apni Shala Foundation. I have picked all generations. The script has to be progressive.”
It is but granted that a documentary is created to make a specific impact on the viewer’s mind. Warudi narrates the experience of attending the Short Film Festival in Bangalore. “People came up to me to speak about it. Most of these educationists are working behind the scene and not making a big noise about their work. They keep a low profile and have so much humility. They are focused and after seeing their work, people want to reach them and write to me.”
The response for Jyotirgamay, in Warudi’s words, has been overwhelming and humbling. “What these people are doing is humbling. In this case (teaching poor or rural children), you learn that it is easy to label someone like the kids and their background. But these kids are so curious. Someone should help them. It is easy to judge them, but they are interested. The ‘have-nots’ understand the importance of education much more than haves.”
One of the best examples of support to her work comes from her own family – her two sons and daughter-in-law help in giving voice-over to the documentary. But she wants this documentary to reach big industries and those with power so that help can reach such work.
Jyotirgamay has gone to several film festivals, received nominations and a few awards too. They include the Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival 2013 and The Woodpecker Film Festival 2013 to be held in Delhi in December. She hopes to get some push at such festival. “The film gets spoken about and people come to know about my work. Recently, I did a 23 minutes film on Cancer for Care India Medical Society. Someone saw the film and approached me to a short film for them. All this is also for my personal creativity. I have to run the whole thing on a tight budget, but my family helps. I have two more short films, and there is also a bound script for a film. But there are budget constraints.”
Warudi is clear in her mind that she wants to do positive films and not stereotype anything. “If there are positive things to talk about, why not talk about it?” Warudi wants to pass the message to those wanting to reach these brave educationist, can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. A documentary like Jyotirgamay and the work shown in it of educating the truly needy makes us think that the world is going in the right way, at least in some ways.
See the video of her documentary at: http://vimeo.com/70311532