Aas ki Kiran (Ray of Hope)
Disillusioned and exhausted by the precarious nature and insecurities of his 17-year old job as a contractual worker in Gurgaon, Narendra Singh sees the pandemic-enforced lockdown as an opportune moment to return to his village, Khandah in the Pauri district of Uttarakhand. With little financial or institutional support, he starts mushroom farming on a small scale in a now-abandoned house. Given the challenges of life in the mountains and the larger structural issues that Pauri Garhwal has historically been facing, Singh knows that the road ahead will be ridden with obstacles but is hopeful to be with his family in a place that he can call ‘home’.
Ridhima Sharma is an incoming PhD scholar at the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto and recipient of the Connaught Fellowship. She completed her MPhil titled ‘Rethinking the Cow Protection Movement: Gender, Caste and Labour at a Gaushala in Contemporary Haryana’ at the Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has taught as Visiting Faculty at Savitribai Phule Pune University and Flame University, Pune. Her research interests include anthropology of religion, feminist theory and methodology, caste and brahminism, nationalism, ethnography, oral Histories, sexuality studies and ethnographic filmmaking. Her recent publications include her contributions in the edited volume Mapping India: Transitions and Transformations 18th-19th century by Routledge (2019) and Nation, Nationalism and the Public Sphere: Religious Politics in India by Sage (2020). She has (co)made two documentaries, HerStories and Kaaye Kaaye Sexual both of which have been screened and have won various awards at national and international film festivals. More recently, she directed two films, Aas Ki Kiran (A Ray of Hope) and Dil Tuta Aashiq (The Heartbroken Lover) that deal with various aspects of the pandemic. Dil Tuta Aashiq was awarded the Gold Best Film Award (Amateur Category) by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT).
Director: Ridhima Sharma
Cinematographer and Producer : Debashish Kumar
Editor: Navtika Sharma
Sound Designer: Ankit Thapa