It has been 14 years since I began making films. My personal journey with documentaries has been at least as long.
It started from a belief that all of us possess the ability to make a difference. Apathy and cynicism is easy, but so is the unnoticed effort, the minute action that sparked a revolution: that brought change. I would rather be a party to the latter thought and be able to document it.
That’s where documentaries come in. They have that special ability to make a change – to discuss the larger picture and focus on the nuance, the minutiae.
I have been looking at life through this prism for as long as I have made films. It has helped me develop a deep admiration, love and passion for people across India.
I have encountered heroes everywhere – fighting for the rights of senior citizens, challenging conventional social mores like the purdah, bringing change through the right implementation of rural development programmes, heralding and leading the rise of India as a powerhouse, and many more.
I find, again and again, that the well-told human story still touches the most people. No Problem! is an attempt an acknowledging, honouring and celebrating everyday heroes – women who through sheer audacity have dreamed an impossible dream – to get light for their villages, and have willingly come aout of their homes for the first times in their lives to a different continent.
This film at one level feels like a natural extension of my work, examining the success and efforts of development initiatives, revealing the thoughts of the increasing number of Indians choosing to return and stay in India, recording the times leading up to the Commonwealth games and documenting India’s economic rise.
At another level, No Problem! has made me stretch myself and look beyond my boundaries of country, language and belief. I cannot honestly say I was best equipped to tell the story of a group of illiterate African women who would come to India and study to be solar engineers while being taught by a group of illiterate men and women. I found it difficult to believe. And for me, the only way to know the truth was to be with them and capture it.
While I often found it hard to leave two small babies behind to fulfil my role of the storyteller, and often returned to carry them with me to the locations, the women continued to live without their children and families for six months. While I at times found it difficult to eat the village food, the women survived on another countries cuisine for six months. While I found it difficult to understand their language, they began to see each other as family. And while I grappled with my cynicism, they became solar engineers.
No Problem! is another step in my journey to document the amazing strength and courage of women, with all its contradictions and surprises, as they dare to dream the impossible and then achieve it.