This film was inspired by a PARI story on Pratibha Hilim – an Adivasi teacher in Palghar, Maharashtra, who lost all four limbs to gangrene in 2019. During the lockdown she continued teaching students in her own home. Her life is an inspiration to both teachers and students.
Maseera Khan is doing a Masters in Mass Communication at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. She was inspired to create this puppet theatre after reading Shraddha Agarwal’s story, Learning lessons from an un-amputated spirit published in PARI on December 3, 2020. This short film using paper theatre and puppets is her final Masters submission. She says: “I was really touched by the story and decided that I want to spread it further. In fictionalising it, I tried my best not to lose the essence and spirit of an unbreakable woman."
Maseera created several paper puppets of the same character to portray different emotions and situations. Each one was drawn by hand using different coloured papers and tempera colours. “I used a big shoe box, covered with black chart paper and cut on top for lighting. I also carved out a rectangle at the back to put a transparent sheet which would act as my shadow screen. In some scenes I used the stop-motion technique to show passage of time – I would record the puppet in one position then pause, change it to the other and resume and so on,” she explains.