Her Song portrays a devastatingly powerful human story of resilience in the face of systemic injustice and exploitation in India, one of the world’s rising global powers. In Her Song, Indian-born director, Atin Mehra, and co-director, Mae Thornton Mehra capture the intimate story of a family surviving at the very bottom of the caste system as they face the decision of whether or not to send their youngest daughter into the longstanding community tradition of prostitution. At twelve years old Bulbul flickers between the levity of childhood hope and the brutal reality of her marginalized caste, in which girls are prized for their economic worth. Bearing the weight of a family in crisis, an HIV-positive sister and an historically exploited community barred from other economic opportunities, Bulbul stands at a crossroads where globalization propels centuries of caste-based discrimination to a boiling point. Interweaving intimate verite footage with artful historical narrative, the husband and wife team carefully captures an astonishing oral history of the Banchara Tribe, whose own rich background was erased and re-written during colonial-era India. It is through this telling that Bulbul is empowered to grapple with the limits of her own agency in a society that seeks to reduce her to a commodity.
Currently in post-production.
DEVOTEES OF SHIVA
Doc Series: Devotees of Shiva
Devotees of Shiva Doc Series will consist of 10 self-contained 30-minute episodes which follow Shiva Devotees in India and Nepal as they pursue their ascetic existence and serve individuals and communities seeking spiritual guidance or help with challenges in their lives. Each episode will focus on a different Shiva Devotee and his/her interactions with those who seek their help. The stories will focus on humanizing the ascetic wanderers and their chosen spiritual paths and in so doing connecting them on an intimate level with the viewers. The audience will gain a close look into the traditions, struggles and daily lives of both the devotees and common women and men in present day India and Nepal.
In Hinduism the three highest manifestations of God are Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer and restorer of worlds. A sadhu or sadhvi is a man or woman who has given up his/her ordinary life path to devote him/herself to Shiva as an ascetic wanderer or holy person. Sadhus/Sadhvis are respected and supported in society with offerings of food in return for their blessings and prayers. Occasionally men and women in need seek spiritual guidance or help from Sadhus/Sadhvis when facing challenges or hardship in their lives. Sadhus/Sadhvis have existed in India for at least 2000 years. It is estimated that in present-day India and Nepal there are some 5 million sadhus, a majority of whom are men.