It all started when Sharmila realised her grandmother had a treasure trove of stories was waiting to be heard.

What was life like for our grandparents Bengaluru filmmaker gives you a tantalising glimpseA still from the short-film.
news Cinema Wednesday, February 01, 2017 - 18:20

Over a year ago, Sharmila Aravind was having a casual conversation with her grandmother, then 93 years old, and she realised that there was a treasure trove of stories just waiting to be heard.

Their meandering conversation went everywhere from the days her grandmother went to school, to how she was married off when she was hardly 13. Along the way they also talked about a Bengaluru that was just a small town with no traffic, and how it was so cold that none of the houses had fans. 

"I realised they (old people) have so much to share. And the younger generation don't know what the world was like before, how people managed without several things (like technology and advanced medicines) that we have today," Sharmila tells The News Minute

So Sharmila decided it was time to put these stories to film, and document the lives of generations so different from ours in a project called "Active Voices, a collection of recollections". 

For the short-film, Sharmila spoke to 26 people hailing from in and around Bengaluru, all of whom have lived to ripe old ages of between 86 and 104. 

They also come from a variety of walks of life.

There's an astrophysicist who is 92 and still works on research, a house-wife, an ex-college principal, a retired Chief Justice of India, a lexicographer who was recently awarded the Padma Shri, as well as agriculturalists, doctors and engineers among the lot. 

A still from the short-film.

"They spoke about their lives, marriages, losing family members, what it was like to live in pre-independence India and even witnessing the partition. One person told me about the time he was arrested for chanting the "Jai Hind" slogan while holding the tricolour," the film-maker says. 

The director with one of the interviewees.

Among the conversations that touched her most, were stories of other women like her grandmother, who were married off on soon after entering their teens, and adjusted to a new family and even became mothers long before they turned 18. 

A still from the short-film.

As for the present generation, the interviewees told Sharmila that, while they are optimistic about the technological strides they’ve made, they also worry about people losing in touch with each other in the real world. 

The 32-minute documentary is scheduled for a screening at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Bengaluru on February 5 at 11 am. 

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