SIFF Film Centre, October 8th, Saturday,3pm


1.A Doctor To Defend:The Binayak Sen Story

Director: Minnie Vaid
India / 2011 / 47min

This is a film about an ordinary man who led an quietly extraordinary life as a village doctor helping poor tribals in a truly backward state—Chhattisgarh—for almost 30 years till he crossed paths with the state by exposing human rights abuses in even more remote and dangerous areas. He paid a heavy price for his courageous choices, for daring to speak out, the state put him in jail for 2 years under charges of sedition and being a ‘fake doctor.’

He was accused of being in league with the Naxalites—a Maoist-Leninist group that believes in violence to achieve justice—helping them in their agenda of destabilizing the country. After a trial that proved no concrete evidence against the highly qualified paediatrician, the sessions court in the state found him guilty of sedition, based on circumstantial evidence and sentenced him to life imprisonment. This judgement was pronounced in December 2010. Meanwhile human rights activists in India and internationally, Amnesty International, Nobel Laureates, thousands of supporters across the world launched a campaign protesting for his freedom.

About the Director: Minnie Vaid wears many hats. She has been a print journalist, starting her career with the Times of India and Illustrated Weekly, moving on to video journalism with India Today’s Newstrack, switching to documentary programmes with Business India television, anchoring and producing ROOTS, an award-winning programme on rural India.

She has also been executive producer and creative producer at prestigious companies like Star plus and Mahindras but her heart remains firmly true to documentaries and she follows that passion. Whether it is whistle-blower Satyendra Dubey or doctor-activist Binayak Sen or women self-help groups or indigenous forest conservation, Minnie documents the stories for the world to see. This January her first book A doctor to defend : the Binayak Sen story was launched by Prof Amartya Sen in India. She is currently working on her second book on rights activist Irom Sharmila.

2. The Daughters Of Brothel


Director: Gautam Singh
India / 25min/ 2011

In Bihar, India, near the border of Nepal, lies an area known as Chaturbhuj-sthan. Named for the temple it surrounds, it is the home to about 10,000 women and children, and has been a brothel for nearly 300 years. Prostitution is a family business here, passed down from mother to daughter. But one girl, Naseema, was able to get an education, and she came back to Chaturbhuj-sthan to make a better life for the women. Today’s video follows Naseema and her efforts to educate the women of the brothel and win rights for this ignored class in India, but it also presents the heartbreaking tragedy of human trafficking, which brings many more new girls into the brothel.

About the Director: 32 years old Gautam Singh’s association with film making is more than a decade old. He started his career with Bollywood. Made several corporate films and advertisements. He also edited some of the famous bollywood movies.  For last 6 years Gautam is working with the middle eastern media house Aljazeera Network as a Filmmaker and Editor.  ‘Daughters Of The Brothel’ was shot by Gautam during his annual vacation. Later Aljazeera English broadcasted it.