When Women Unite: The Story of an Uprising

Directed by Shabnam Virmani and Nata Duvvury
80 min
Telugu with English Subtitles

The film narrates the incredibly moving story of the anti-arrack (state-supplied distilled liquor) movement that led to the eventual ban of arrack sales in Andhra Pradesh in 1995. The movement started when a group of women participating in a literacy program started questioning their oppressed status. Spurred into action by the killing of a village woman (who was beaten to death by her drunk husband when she tried to prevent him from molesting their daughter), they took on the men of the village, the powerful arrack contractors, and the repressive state machinery in a valiant struggle that demanded a stop to the endless supply of arrack to their village (the only village tap dispensed water once in two days while the arrack shop received its supplies twice a day). The movement took hold and spread across the state over a period of four hard-fought years. It was a true grass-roots movement; even today it has no identifiable leaders. The movie documents the incredible courage of these women, their political and social consciousness and their steady realization that, through struggle, they could control their own destiny.