Taaza Khabar: Mithilesh at work
Director: Bishakha Datta; Cinematographer: Ranu Ghosh
Duration: 00:30:38; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 339.422; Saturation: 0.076; Lightness: 0.461; Volume: 0.167; Cuts per Minute: 10.213
Summary: Part of the footage of the film Taaza Khabar directed by Bishakha Datta and produced by Nirantar. The film is about the journey of a team of all women journalists of Khabar Lahariya (a grassroots newspaper published by the women themselves) through several obstacles. The determined efforts are to ensure the 62nd issue of Khabar Lahariya reaches its readers on time. The women are from Chitrakoot district in U.P. who report stories that find no space in mainstream media. It also portrays how these women have created their own space and established their identity in a context where patriarchy and caste-based discriminations are dominant. In this event, Mithilesh, one of the Khabar Lahariya journalists, who does the illustrations for the newspaper, explains the process of how she draws pictures, uses her imagination and about the challenges she faces in the process of representing the truth through pictures.
Mithilesh, one of the Khabar Lahariya journalists, is sitting at a table and drawing intently on a white sheet of paper. Behind her, in another room, Kavita, another journalist is working. Mithilesh's drawing in seen more closely where she is drawing a square house with windows, a door and a roof. There are trees on either side of three such houses. Below these, she draws the figure of a man, carefully erasing and making changes when she is not satisfied with what she has drawn.
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Mithilesh explains that she plans to show the state of dirty streets in a slum in her drawing. Bishakha asks her why she wants to show dirty streets in her drawing to which Mithilesh explains that the local authorities do not get the place cleaned up due to which flies breed and a lot of illnesses spread in the area. She wants to show the negligence of the authorities in taking care of the place. The drawing will go in the development page of the newspaper. She says that the drawings help people who are illiterate to understand news without having to read. Mithilesh then narrates how she used to draw when she was a student but left it after her studies. Now she has resumed that interest.
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Bishakha asks Mithilesh how the pictures that she draws come to her mind. Mithilesh tells her she understands what to draw according to the problems people face when she visits the villages. Sometimes her pictures fail, if for example she hasn't drawn the body proportionately, maybe the face is crooked or a hand is small. In that case, she would have to redraw the picture. To get more clarity on the previous question, Mithilesh is again asked how she visualises what she needs to draw and whether it comes from what she sees in reality or from books. She explains that she draws from her imagination after thinking about how it needs to look.
Mithilesh shows a few more samples of her work and explains the various stories that they represent. She proudly says that all these drawings have been passed and they would be published in the newspaper. When asked about the challenges she faces in her work, she explains that if she draws cases the way it really is, then the difficulty lies in reaching out to the authorities and making them realize the flaws in their governance. Many of the authorities who she draws, also question her on how she could draw them in that way. Sometimes they also threaten her. Mithilesh gives a few examples of the cases where she faced such difficulties.
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Mithilesh sits with the other journalists and shows them her drawing for feedback. Shalini from Nirantar asks her to improve the drawing with the dirty streets. The other two journalists, Kavita and Meera also give her tips on how she can make it better. They also joke and laugh when they discuss imaginative ways of drawing what they'd like to show. Mithilesh listens to all their suggestions in good humour, taking note of their feedback and explains her perspective at few points.
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