Navratri is a festival which celebrates the awakening of Goddess Adishakti, who is revered in the glorious forms of ‘Navdurga’.
This year, a unique project was conceived by art director Sumeet Patil and created by ‘Shreerang Charitable Trust‘ in association with ‘Frame Me Media’ and. It was also supported by Tata-Power’s ‘Saheli’ group. This project focuses on women empowerment through the women ‘Goddesses’ living in rural Maharashtra, and their remarkable stories expressed through their work and achievements documented in the form of a series of nine short videos called ‘Navratri Special’.
The work and life of the following nine simple but extremely motivated women have been documented in this short video series:
- Indrayani Gawde – This 84-year old lovingly known as ‘Nani’, is a living representation of the Goddess Annapurna! She earns on her own by making bowls & plates from leaves and manages to feed the needy with her delicious cooking and a treasure trove of traditional recipes cherished by her.
- Maya Shrungare – She cultivates wild medicinal plants & vegetables in her field to conserve them. She also gives them free to the ones in need in her village.
- Yogita Tambe – She is a music teacher. Yogita expresses her art through traditional music and sounds of nature. She has even attained expertise over 70 traditional musical instruments as well. She is blind, but that does not stop her from painting a mesmerising world with her music!
- Suvarna Waingankar – She has taken up the mission of conserving our forts and their heritage. She is a fearless woman who takes up this challenge by climbing these forts while wearing the traditional ‘Navwari’ saree!
- Shraddha Kadam – She has dedicated her life for social welfare in her village. She does not even hesitate in herself performing the last rights of people who die without kin!
- Shrutika Palkar – She uses simple stones found in nature around us as her canvas and colours to capture the life of rural women.
- Aarti Anand Parab – She has dedicated her life for the conservation of ‘Fugadi’ a traditional festive sport form in Maharashtra. She is also known for her contributions to this unique form of sports through her own innovations as well.
- Tanushree Gangavane – She has successfully preserved the traditional heritage of her ‘Thakar’ community in the form of ‘Kalsutri’ and ‘Chitrakathi’. She uses her art and puppets not only to entertain but also for social awareness.
- Shreya Birje – She runs an old age home while maintaining the bond of love and lives with the same values of ‘Human service is service to God’.
This short video series has been directed by Sumeet Patil & Kishor Naik. Photography and compilation were handled by Milind Adelkar, Aarti Kadwadkar, Makrand Naik & Sanket Jadhav. Written by Veda Dalvi, Krishna Korgaonkar. Special contributions have been made by Sanket Kudalkar, Sakshi Khadye, Dheeraj Kadwadkar, Mangal Rane, Abhishek Tendulkar and Bharat Shinde.
One more special thing about this short video series is the fact the Marathi version of each story has been narrated by well-known actresses from the Marathi film industry. They include Deepti Bhagwat, Spruha Joshi, Tanvi Palav, Rituja Bagwe, Suruchi Adarkar, Padmashree Nayana Apte, Ashwini Kasar, Vimal Mhatre & Chinmayi Raghavan.
This is the first time such an initiative is being screened in Marathi as well as in English.