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WIFF 2017: Every little bit counts, says short film Breakthrough Early Marriage

Raising awareness about the issue of early child marriage, the short film emphasizes on the role of the community in tackling this critical issue.

Priyanka Kher

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Directed by Debalina Majumder, the four-minute short film Breakthrough Early Marriage was made for Breakthrough, a human rights organization that works to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable. 

The film is part of the early marriage programme of the NGO and tackles the issue of early marriage, as approximately 8 crore girls in India get married before the age of 18.

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The role of a girl, particularly in rural India, is confined to her home and the hearth, where she is expected to cook for and feed her family. In such a scenario, dreaming of getting a good education and becoming financially independence is tantamount to breaking traditional values and norms of behaviour. 

Breakthrough Early Marriage is a step towards recognizing the daily challenges faced in overcoming odds and realizing a bigger dream of independence and choice, for nearly one half of our population.

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Focusing on the attitude of the community towards the education of girls, the film places the onus on the father, who is typically the decision maker in the family. But, at the same time, it recognizes that he cannot make decisions in isolation, therefore, the role of the community still remains crucial for the issue.

Representing the film at the Woodpecker International Film Festival, Priyanka Kher, head, Media Hub with Breakthrough, mentioned that the film was used at the ground level as a conversation starter during the interactions of the team with the community members.

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While the work was challenging in nature, she mentioned that their efforts to address the issue had been paying off, as the age for early marriage has gone up by one and a half years.

Kher also pointed out that the main challenge lay in developing a relationship with the community, and the use of film to transmit that message helped in addressing the challenge.

Talking about the inclusion of the film at the WIFF 2017, she said, “I am extremely happy and very honoured to have made it to the festival. It’s a very special film for us and has garnered a lot of appreciation, wherever it has travelled.”

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Speaking about the role of film festivals in communicating niche content to audiences, she said, “The film has to connect in a human form with the audience and every little bit counts. Every platform is important as you are spreading the message. Eventually, it is about raising awareness, so even though it [the film] was made for a specific purpose, it has been appreciated everywhere as it serves a different purpose in different settings.”

Breakthrough Early Marriage was screened at the Woodpecker International Film Festival on 10 November.

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