Bundelkhand Express

By Saba Dewan
72 min.,1999, India (NTSC)

Bundelkhand Express is a labour train, which winds through the rocky, arid plains of southern Uttar Pradesh. From districts like Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, it picks up hundreds of children and adults deserting a neglected and impoverished land in search of work. Some of these people are heading towards Mirzapur – the capital of carpet production in India. Liluah, a little tribal girl from a village in Shahuji Maharaj Nagar has not yet taken the train. Ram Sajivan and Bachcha, two young boys in the district town, make a living ferrying the passengers of Bundelkhand Express on a rickshaw, and dream of the day they too will board the train. Bundelkhand Express connects the stories of these children and their parents with the carpet economy. Traditional craft and global capital, meticulous craftsmen and non-artisan exporters tied together by a thin and fine thread, woven into a nightmare. Saba Dewan did her masters in T.V. and Film Production from the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 1987 and since then has been making independent documentaries. Her work has focused on communalism, gender and sexuality. Her current project is a documentary on the courtesan.