Getting children to love reading books (not talking about textbooks here) in this digital age is difficult. But it’s important. Devaki started solving this problem for her own children few years ago, and today manages a network of 60 mothers, spread across the country, who have been trained (by her) to use the power of storytelling and other activities to lure children to get hooked to reading books! And it’s working! This is that story. This is LRN‘s story.
This is the story of how a 7 year old startup is changing the way students decide to choose their careers. Although I was commissioned to make this story, believe me when I say this – had I access to something like this when I was growing up, I would have made better career choices in life! 🙂 Share it with especially those in class IX to XII.
Millions of children in India suffer from speech impairment, resulting from various conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome etc. But there are only a handful of speech therapists in India that can help these children (unlike say USA). A bunch of Indian geeks are finally using technology to address the problem and it’s beautiful to see the impact – how when you give the tools to communicate to these children, they can express a lot!
Over 150 of 1,000 infants and over 300 of 1,000 under five children were dying in the remote tribal villages of Kalahandi district in Orissa (India) when Dr. Aquinas started Swasthya Swaraj in 2013. To put the above numbers in context, the infant mortality rate is in single digit for most developed countries and the average for India is around 30 deaths per 1000 children. Four years of work by Swasthya Swaraj has brought down the rate to around 100 in the villages (where it serves). This is the story of how that happened – what does it take to save lives of the poorest?
Charity can never solve the huge issues that farmers of our country face. So what are the some of the better ways to improve their lives? This is what this video-story is about. By the way, this is the first 3MS that I shot but did not edit. 🙂 It was edited by a different team sitting in Amsterdam – a team at Zoomin.TV. I stumbled upon a story on the brothers online and pitched the idea to Zoomin – a dutch media house curating stories from across the globe on various topics; “local heroes” being one of them. The story got a go ahead, I contacted the brothers and soon travelled to Kapurthala to meet them.
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Pawiter and Harjap are cousin brothers and belong to well-to-do farming families. They don’t have money issues themselves but they have seen first hand how smaller farmers don’t have it easy. Although most farmers in India operate in a high risk setup, the return is not high enough. Small farmers have a poor negotiating advantage when it comes to selling their produce; the mandi guys dictate the price and the farmer doesn’t have much option (can’t store, can’t take back the produce and has very little knowledge of where else he can sell). The middlemen at the mandi easily sell the same stuff for 75% to 100% higher rates to the end buyers. And the brothers see this as an issue.
Harjap did farming himself for a while and hated this lack of control that farmers had (on deciding the price). Farmerfriend, their website and app addresses this problem. They have been putting together buyers and farmers on one platform (for free) so that farmers don’t have to depend totally on the middlemen – and can directly strike deals with bulk or retails buyers in nearby urban areas. Using this site, they can now sell for higher price and at the same time, for the buyer, the overall cost is lesser (compared to procuring from middlemen). The journey for these brothers has just begun. They will have to raise a lot of money if they want to spread this across India (a lot of groundwork is required to go meet and convince the farmers). But they are confident they will figure out a way to scale this up. Farmers across India, need such platforms. Like, right away!
[aesop_content color=”#ffffff” background=”#ffffff” component_width=”700px” columns=”1″ position=”left” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]Not only does India have a blind football team, it actually ranks better (global rank) than India’s regular football team*! 🙂 This is their story! And it’s amazing! Some time last year (2016), I stumbled upon the website of Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) and was amazed to discover that blind people played football and all that! This was such a cool discovery! I immediately sensed a story that could be told and wrote to Sunil right away. He was the Sporting Director at IBFF. He informed me that the first international blind football tournament in India, had just concluded and if only he had known me earlier, I could have shot that and made some film! 🙁 But well, what was done was done! To my delight, Sunil said he was in the process of organizing the next tournament. It would take place in the next few months and I could probably shoot that. And then, finally that tournament happened. Last month. I travelled to Kochi to be there on the last two days of the tournament and made this film.
Because of my friendship with Divyanshu (he is blind too) when I made a film about his Himalayan cycling adventure last year, I have a relatively better understanding of how most blind folks expect the sighted world to act (compared to someone who has never properly spent time with a blind person). From whatever little I understand, most blind people never feel bad about their disability (to see) – it’s just a part of who they are. Most of their struggles are not because of their disability – it’s usually because the world in which they live is simply poorly designed to take care of their needs.
Most blind people never feel bad about their disability (to see) – it’s just a part of who they are.
I carried this attitude and understanding during my interaction with all the players. And I hope that shows in the film. This film is not so much about blindness. It is more about a new kind of sport in which India really has a chance to do something big at international level.
I had kind of pre-decided that I would focus on two protagonists – one from each of the two teams that reach the final, and make this film like a typical sports film where both sides want to win. And use that framework to bring out the story of how this sport is growing in India; who is behind it.
I know it’s not a three minute story. It’s an eight minute story. 🙂 But I hope after you have seen it, you do agree that there is nothing that need not be told. I already skipped the whole part where Pankaj, Anish and Falhan explained to me how they got into football. Everything that’s in the final film, I believe should be there.
I congratulate Dehradun on the win and hope that Sunil and IBFF are able to secure consistent funding / sponsorship for the next few years so that they can improve the quality of the game and hopefully get team India to make our country famous internationally. Share this story, if you like it. More the number of people who know and care about this sport, the better!
*Indian Blind Football world ranking is 25 (source) while the regular football ranking is around 100.
Earlier this month (Apr 2017), Umoja, a travel portal focused on ‘accessible’ travel, organized a week long event in Goa where I got to meet few wheelchair tourists who had found a great reason to be happy about being in Goa. You might think everyone is generally happy about being in Goa anyway, but watch the story first! 🙂 You will know what I am talking about!
Talking about this film, I would have loved to shoot how these guys went about setting up the special ramp but unfortunately I came to know about this event only after all that had already been done! 🙁
By the way, there is an interesting (and inspiring) article on Yourstory, on one of the protagonists of my story . If you liked the 3MS, you can read more about her. As usual, if you are doing something interesting yourself that I can come shoot and tell your story, or if you want to sponsor one of my stories, do reach out to me: email@example.com
In May first week, I am flying to Kochi to capture the story of the blind football players of India! Will keep you guys posted!
This is the story of two sportsmen in Bangalore who are trying to build an Indian football team competent enough to face international leagues. And there is a reason why it’s not an easy task. Watch the story to understand that.
It is interesting the way I got to make this story. Sometime last year, an international media agency was looking for Indian film-makers to find and shoot football and cricket related inspiring stories. I tried to pitch in and put up a Facebook post asking friends to connect me to anyone who was doing something for these sports. The post got shared here and there and that’s how Sharath found out about me. He told me about what he had been upto and one day I flew to Bangalore to shoot this. By then the international agency’s deal had been shelved, but I was cool with doing this on my own anyway. It was great to meet Sharath and Abhishek at Abhishek’s training centre. Unfortunately nothing could be scheduled for me to shoot in a football ground while I was in Bangalore so it took me a while to finish this story (Sharath eventually shot and shared some football ground footage to me – which you see in this video-story). I hope you liked this story. If you know of people / organizations whose story should be brought out – do let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year I travelled to Bangalore to meet Mughilan and Mrinal, the co-founders of Skylark drone. This is their story – and how they are able to use drones to contribute to India’s growth. Pretty interesting!
This is a commissioned assignment (meaning I got paid to create this 3MS). Generally when startups approach me, they just care about a ‘video’ that can show others, what they ‘do‘. ‘We do this and we do that and we also do this and we also do that’ is what I ususally hear. Unfortunately, unless what someone does is mind-blowingly never seen before cool, the world doesn’t much care (at least not enough to watch a video). So how does one make the world care about what you do anyway? By telling a story. And that’s what I do. A story is always more about what one ‘wants‘ and why one wants whatever one wants. And only then does a story move to what one ‘does’ to get what (s)he wants.
Thankfully, I could spend few days in Bangalore with these guys (as I shot another story in the same premise where they were based at, at that point of time). And that helped me understand their journey and thus appreciate what they were truly doing. Hope you like it!
I read a story about these special women cops in Udaipur who were trained to tackle women harassment cases. Udaipur is one of the bigger and popular cities of Rajasthan state (Jaipur is the capital city). I thought it would be cool to shoot some of these cops in action and also find out what special training they had gone for. In the process of finding a connection in Udaipur Police, I ended up being connected to the head of Rajasthan Police Academy – Rajeev Dasot, IPS. I was told that the training for all the cops in Rajasthan happens in his academy (located in Jaipur). And that included the ‘special’ training of the women cops of Udaipur too. He also told me that one such new group was being trained as we spoke and I was welcome to shoot them and interview them. So I headed to Jaipur and did exactly that. That’s what this 3 Minute Story is about.
I would have loved to also shoot the cops in action (on field) but let’s hope that happens some other time. What’s happening in Udaipur is not happening in Jaipur and I had only so much of time in hand to be in one city at a time.
I have also Vlogged about my experience and if you see it you would also get to know about two upcoming stories. Hope this story of what Rajasthan Police Academy is doing, was worth your time. If you know of other stories, anywhere in India, that you might want me to consider, do let me know. Until then, hope 2016 was not all that bad and all the best wishes for the new year. As for me, I haven’t made any plans for what to do tonight yet! I hope you have? 🙂
PS: I would like to thank my IIT junior and friend Gaurav Jain for connecting me to Rajeev sir. And of course Rajeev sir for his hospitality and time and insights.