A short documentary about the lives and struggles of home-based female bangle-makers in Hyderabad unveils the irony of poverty. These women cannot even afford to wear what they make. ‘Daughters of a Lesser God‘ is award-winning documentary filmmaker Ammar Aziz’s latest look at the oppressed communities of Pakistan.
The documentary was earlier shown at labour conferences in the United States and Europe, but was screened for the first time in Pakistan at Kuch Khaas on Monday.
The film explores the exploitation that takes place at multiple levels during the complicated process of making bangles. The workers’ interviews are interspersed with images of them working on their machines.
Aziz told The Express Tribune that he used this technique to intensify the mood and tone of the film. The topic, he added, is an undocumented phenomenon in Pakistan that reflects and speaks to the many struggles of socioeconomically oppressed communities.
“After realising the miserable conditions of women in Hyderabad, I felt an ideological responsibility to document the subject,” said Aziz. He added that it is always a challenge to maintain harmony between stark realism and cinematic aestheticism, but he feels he has managed to achieve that in this film.
The film had a limited budget and a crew of two. It was produced by Labour Education Foundation and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
Aziz has been featured in the Christian Science Monitor’s “30 under 30” people from all over the world for his art and activism and is the only Pakistani filmmaker to be selected for the Talent Campus of the Berlin International Film Festival 2012.
However, he has also faced numerous obstacles in making his films.
While working on the film Taqwacore, he faced death threats after the Jamia Binoria seminary issued statements against him. However, such hurdles have not stopped Aziz from speaking his mind and showcasing the lives of the marginalised.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.