The Rajamma documentary is an ode to her resilience and independence, says CV director Sunitha


‘21 Hours of Toil, Journey and Commerce’, a documentary, zooms unobtrusively into the day by day grind of Rajamma, a fish vendor from a coastal village in Thiruvananthapuram, who refuses to be crushed by the chances

Amidst a sea of fish and males in lungis hitched as much as their knees on the Thoothukudi fish public sale centre, Rajamma stands her floor. Maybe the one girl shopping for fish in bulk from the public sale, the 50-year-old fisherwoman from Cheriyathura in Thiruvananthapuram is a rarity.

21 Hours of Toil, Journey and Commerce, a documentary made on her by Sunitha CV, captures the grit and dedication of this girl who has been promoting fish because the age of 10.

“In these days, we needed to stroll all the way in which from the coast to the town, about 20 to 25 km day by day. There have been no autorickshaws or buses then. My sister and I make ends meet because of the sea’s bounty and so did our mother and father,” Rajamma says.

A day with Rajamma

It’s a day in her life that’s unspooled within the movie because the digicam follows her, from three am to midnight. Talking on to the digicam, Rajamma, in a matter of reality tone, touches upon her challenges, the day by day grind and the way her kids have finished her proud.

Poster of ‘21 Hours of Toil, Journey and Commerce’, a documentary directed by Sunitha CV

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“It’s her perspective, resilience and fierce independence that I wished to spotlight within the movie. The truth is, that’s the reason I made the docu. Three of her 5 kids are overseas and she or he had returned from Dubai simply earlier than the lockdown. However Rajamma doesn’t envisage a future the place she depends on her kids,” says Sunitha.

As soon as she recognized her topic for her first work as director, Sunitha spent a few days with Rajamma and her husband in her two-room house in a hutment close to the seashore at Cheriyathura. She wished to assist Rajamma really feel at house with the movie’s workforce and in addition study extra about her earlier than the taking pictures started.

The movie opens with Rajamma making her strategy to an open mini-truck at three am. With just a little issue, she manages to climb on to the again of the truck and makes herself at house. Because the truck travels at breakneck pace from Thiruvananthapuram on the West Coast to Thoothukudi on the East Coast Rajamma takes catnaps in the course of the 200-km journey to attend the fish public sale.

Whereas Sunita discovered even one journey to be extraordinarily exhausting for the movie’s crew, she factors out that come rain or shine Rajamma makes the bone-shaking journey to get the very best fish for her prospects.

Sunitha CV, director of ‘21 Hours of Toil, Travel and Trade’, a documentary

Sunitha CV, director of ‘21 Hours of Toil, Journey and Commerce’, a documentary

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In line with Rajamma the catch is dwindling within the seas round Thiruvananthapuram as a result of overfishing and fierce competitors has decreased alternatives for unbiased, small-time distributors like her. Evaluating the catch to what was accessible in her youth, she says that whereas the amount of fish has decreased, even the number of the catch had modified. “The place are the reef cod, the pilchard and the Tongue sole?” she wonders.

A sea of challenges

Her easy query highlights issues confronted by these within the fishing neighborhood who might not have entry to fancy boats and tools for fishing. Rajamma lists the explanation why she doesn’t thoughts travelling 400 km day by day as a substitute of going to at least one the fish auctions centres in Thiruvananthapuram or Kollam. Explaining that fisherwomen like her are getting a uncooked deal since the very best of the catch is exported or cornered by manufacturing facility house owners, she provides that house supply of fish and new gamers within the markets have made it troublesome for conventional fishmongers like her.

Produced by Magline Philomina Yohannan below the banner of Coastal Ladies’s Federation, Collective Section One has co-produced the movie that captures in vivid element the hardships confronted by the ladies who haven’t any security internet or authorities assist to ply their commerce.

Rajamma represents the scores of weather-beaten girls who journey from coastal villages within the capital metropolis to the town by bus, autorickshaws or by foot to promote fish.

Cinematographer Agin B’s candid photographs present her busy cleansing, gutting and slicing the fish at her makeshift outlet within the metropolis the place she sells the fish. Rajamma says that she insists on cleansing all of the fish for her prospects although her fingers will not be as nimble as they had been as soon as upon a time.

Nonetheless, in the course of her narrative, Rajamma provides that together with her earnings alone she was capable of deliver up and educate her 5 kids.

By the point, Rajamma cleans the place and reaches house it’s practically 10 pm. After cooking dinner within the gentle of a chimney, she and her husband undergo the accounts of her enterprise and go to mattress by midnight. The documentary ends with Rajamma resolutely making her strategy to the truck at three am for the journey to Thoothukudi.

Edited by Ajithkumar B, the documentary is an in depth encounter with the ladies who had been as soon as indispensable within the social panorama of Kerala. Additionally it is an indicator of how girls like Rajamma are step by step being eradicated within the new scheme of issues.

Sunitha says the pandemic has dealt her a double whammy. With fishing banned and social distancing in place, Rajamma has been unable to proceed her work. Furthermore, her makeshift outlet within the metropolis can also be dealing with opposition from some residents. Be that as it could, Rajamma has advised Sunitha as quickly as she will, she might be making that rendezvous together with her mini van at three am.

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