Understanding Human Development through Film

Understanding Human Development through Film

From child marriage in Rajasthan, food security in Orissa and a shortage of doctors in Himachal Pradesh's health care services, a series of films explore the challenges of human development.

Highlights

  • A series of films exploring the challenges of human development made in collaboration with Films and Television Institute of India (FTII)
  • UNDPs ‘Strengthening State Plans for Human Development’ project aims to operationalise key findings from State Human Development Reports by mainstreaming human development concerns into state policies and plans

A series of films that look at human development across India’s states through the filmmakers lens seek to further the debate on human development and form part of United Nations Development Programmes partnership with the Planning Commission and state governments to mainstream human development concerns in state plans and policies.

From child marriage in Rajasthan, food security in Orissa and a shortage of doctors in Himachal Pradesh’s health care services, a series of films explore the challenges of human development across 13 states in India. A unique collaboration between the Films and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India, these films provide a powerful insight into the myriad human development issues confronting states.

A two-day film festival ‘Films on Human Development’ held on April 10-11 at FTII in Pune screened 26 films produced over four years by FTII alumni. As the films revealed, while the 13 states featured face a diversity of issues, these themes resonate strongly with other regions in the country. For example, Sakhar Shala film highlights the migration of people from drought prone areas in Maharashtra including Vidharbha to the western part of the state and the consequent toll it takes on childrens’ education.

Several of the films in this collection have been recognised for cinematic excellance. Bhanga Gara or Tto break, To create from West Bengal won the country’s most prestigious National Award at the 55th National Awards in the best scientific film (non-feature film) category.

This effort at building awareness on human development is part of a UNDP and Planning Commission programme ‘Strengthening State Plans for Human Development’ which aims to operationalise key findings from State Human Development Reports by mainstreaming human development concerns into state policies and plans. It strengthens the plan processes and dialogues within selected states to ensure better progress on human development. Through the project period, planning for human development has also reached district levels where findings in district HDRs are being mainstreamed into district planning.

The human development films project and the film festival aim to build greater awareness of and enhance the quality of public debate on human development across states in India. It is, however, not just through screenings and dissemination on public broadcasters that awareness is sought to be built. Filmmakers have come up with another novel approach. Says project coordinator Milind Damle: “During the production of these films we encouraged crews to include students in their teams. This is a way of giving them hands-on experience of human development issues.”