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Telling real stories

Mohd. Ali Baig

Mohd. Ali Baig  

Theatre personality Mohd. Ali Baig shares his experience of making the documentary ‘Changing Lives’

When given an opportunity to play on a different wicket, ad filmmaker-cum- theatre personality Mohd. Ali Baig was game for it. Away from the arc lights of making glamorous commercials and opulent theatre productions, he got a chance to tell stories that matter with ‘Changing Lives’ - a documentary on life around river Musi and the hundreds who inhabit the banks of the river and their struggles. “It was a moving experience, an eye opener to know about the lives of these people, this section of the society we don’t pay attention to. They are the working class but we are ignorant of their lives and their problems,” he states.

The six days shoot took place in Hyderabad and also in Visakhapatnam. “We went right after Cyclone Hudhud and have shots of the massive devastation that has taken place in the slums. The intensity of the tragedy is so much that people were left with only the framework of thatched roofs. Women used their saris to cover them,” he says. Hyderabad-based NGO Montfort Social Institute (MSI) as part of its work has made a difference in the lives of residents in and around the river near Musanagar area. The NGO approached Baig to showcase their lives and tell their story. Written by Noor Baig, Changing Lives has ace cinematographer Suryaprakash handle the camerawork. Baig says he was inspired by Brother Verghese of MSI, who lived in the slums and his vision “When Brother Verghese (MSI) approached me for the documentary, I wanted to understand the subject. After making ad and corporate films, I was particular that I should not make it glamorous. It is a very serious issue and wanted to extend honesty to the subject,” he says.

Shot around the slums, the documentary depicts the rehabilitation work. “The idea was to involve people and get their view point. The documentary raises awareness on the slum dwellers’ right to dignity,” he states. The scenes have people narrate their experiences and express their feelings. “They are the unsung heroes, the backbone of our society. These people spoke from the heart and there is an audio narrative accompanying it. It was a learning experience as we met some senior women in the slums who have taken the role of community leaders to protect community living,” informs Baig.

Back from the month-long tour of Canada and USA, Mohd. Ali Baig is back on familiar ground, getting ready for the annual Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival that is set to begin on November 7.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:30:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/telling-real-stories/article6564006.ece

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