SMILING WOMAN OF BANDA

By Anjali BHUSHAN NUGYAL

APRICOT SKY ENTERTAINMENT - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2016

Tribal woman,mother of 4,wrapped in a sari, cycling Village to Village. Women play assigned roles in a conservative, caste ridden, rural India. Not Raj Kumari. She's a working woman. To be precise, she is a hand-pump mechanic.

    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • INDIA, JAPAN
    • Budget
    • 0.3 - 0.6 M$
    • Duration
    • 25 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Anjali BHUSHAN NUGYAL
    • Producer(s)
    • Anjali BHUSHAN (Apricot Sky Entertainment)
    • Synopsis
    • Woman. Dalit. Hand-pump Mechanic. Delicate. Downtrodden. Scientific. Uneducated.
      Surely there is nothing common in these words. Except Raj Kumari is all of it and more feminine in her graceful Sari. She wields a wrench with impressive dexterity, can take your pump to pieces and put it back better, explains the difference between an India Mark II and Mark III (types of hand-pumps, she'll remind you), and has fought with her mother-in-law to do this job. Raj Kumari quite simply is a woman of metal; out there something strange is going on.

      A tribal woman, mother of four children, wrapped in a sari, cycling from village to village. Where she comes from - conservative, caste ridden rural India where women play assigned roles - women usually stay at home. Not Raj Kumari, she's a working woman.

      First understand Chitrakoot: Caste, prejudice, chauvinism, all live shoulder to shoulder here. Women here are not brought up to be anything, least of all mechanics. But there in Uttar Pradesh's Shahuji Maharaj district there are more pressing issues.

      This is a hard land of dust and rock, of poverty and deprivation, of low water tables and absent irrigation facilities. It is a land where water is truly life & where the only source of water is the hand-pump. Except they never worked.

      Who would believe that one day the women of the region would decide to hurdle over prejudice, skip past scorn, battle against apathy and become hand pump mechanics. Today water has returned and a hard land has bowed to the women's initiative.

      Subverting stereo types enforced at birth upon Women, Smiling Woman of Banda is a story of Raj Kumari, an uneducated woman born in the lowest caste in the heart of India, fighting her way to become a hand pump mechanic. She is of the belief that power only comes to those who choose to take it. The journey wasn't easy. Raj Kumari has her very own brand of feisty Indian feminism. “Men can do anything, but women do everything,” says Raj Kumari whose oldest daughter, unmarried yet (age 21), is BA pass and a school teacher. Raj Kumari is now her daughter’s student in an open school that runs voluntary classes for illiterates under a tree.