Filmmakers aim for a social evolution through documentaries

A simple question, “Are you following your truth?” changed the world for Madhusudan Agarwal. Chasing their truths, Madhusudan and Meghna Agarwal, moved to the United States to learn film making. Later, they returned to India to find stories and co-found MAM Movies. For, according to Madhusudan, “Stories are important. What they tell is important.”

MAM Movies, media for social change, is a platform to bring about social transformation in a non-intrusive manner and film makers from all walks of life are encouraged to submit their works. “In a way, it is an attempt to sustain the spirit of that anonymous act of kindness which gifted me a camera with a smile card,” he says. This was when the duo, Meghna and Madhusudan, were on their way back to India after having learnt film making in the US.

A report by the United Nations that talked about the need for expression as one of the biggest needs of society propelled the initiation of a project SHE Creates. Girl students of 10-15 years from schools in Dharavi to international and public schools of Mumbai, were brought together to participate in a film making workshop and made short films on anything that attracted their interest. 

“We offered them cameras and asked them to just shoot on anything that struck them. Issues of human trafficking, dowry and female foeticide emerged on the reels. The confidence which they gained after having submitted their films about issues that they felt were very close to their hearts made them quite bold. Fuelled by this self confidence, girls from Dharavi later entered government offices with cameras and made sure that ration cards were issued on their names without delay and corruption. And that did happen,” says Madhusudan.

But MAM Movies, as an organisation, does not have an activists’ approach and they make films because it makes them happy, Madhusudan is quick to explain. It is an open source network of voluntary independent film makers.