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Animation for a cause

Ratna Pathak Shah and rapper Sofia Ashraf lend support to an animation video that socks domestic violence in its face

(Top, down) Scenes from the film
(Top, down) Scenes from the film

The animated figure of a young girl stands in the doorway of a house, questioning her identity and finally calling herself an outsider in her own home. This is the opening scene of a film created by Supari Studios, in association with Mai Family Services, a Michigan- based NGO, which addresses the issue of domestic violence that South Asian women face in the United States of America.

Written by Sofia Ashraf, and featuring the voice of Ratna Pathak Shah, the film titled Outsider aims to raise awareness regarding the challenges these women face on a daily basis. "The NGO approached us to create a video to encapsulate the wide range of work that they do in a film. We suggested that we do a series of films, each highlighting a single cause that they support," says Mohit Bhasin who has directed the film along with Aditya Tawde. "Violence within families is something no one wants to talk about. We believe that it'll go away if we pretend all is well. Men and women both suffer but children suffer the most. They learn to think it is a way of establishing power over others. I hate this hypocrisy, and feel we all must oppose it in every way we can. That’s one of the reasons I did this film," elaborates Pathak Shah.

Ratna Pathak Shah
Ratna Pathak Shah

Using the classical style of animation, the short film portrays the story of an Indian woman who gets married to someone in America and finds herself in an abusive relationship.

"For long, I have been wanting to write on this subject. I felt that animation would really lift a personal subject like this, as opposed to live action," shares Ashraf.

Sofia Ashraf
Sofia Ashraf

"It was tricky to compliment the words with the right visuals without being too direct. Eventually, we went with classical animation and bold colours to represent the seriousness of the poetry and highlight the cultural heritage of the community," says animation director, Tawde.

The story is narrated using spoken word, a format that is popular in the West and is steadily gaining popularity in urban India too. "Not too many people know that I am a spoken word writer. I was writing a spoken wordpiece on neuro diversity, which I will perform in Melbourne soon, when this came up,. It was serendipitous." shares the singer-activist.

log on to: vimeo.com/184319992

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