'Valasa' explores plight of migrant workers amid COVID-19 crisis, says filmmaker
Telugu filmmaker Sunil Kumar Reddy's upcoming feature film "Valasa" ("Migration) will shine a light on the plight of thousands of migrant workers who were stranded in cities after they were unable to go back home when the nationwide lockdown was announced to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dubai: Telugu filmmaker Sunil Kumar Reddy's upcoming feature film "Valasa" ("Migration) will shine a light on the plight of thousands of migrant workers who were stranded in cities after they were unable to go back home when the nationwide lockdown was announced to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
While announcing the lockdown on March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said people should remain wherever they are.
In the beginning of the first phase of the lockdown, thousands of the migrant workers started moving by foot from cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad to their respective places, creating a humanitarian crisis.
This led to the Home Ministry directing the state governments not to allow the migrants to move, arrange shelter homes for them and provide them food. The states were also allowed to even use money from the National Disaster Response Fund for providing food and shelter to the migrant workers.
Reddy, who made "Gulf" in 2018 highlighting the challenges faced by Indian migrants in the Middle East, said the visuals of millions of human beings walking endlessly on foot to reach their homes were very disturbing.
"As a filmmaker, the visuals of millions of fellow human beings walking desperately against all odds, shocked me. It is a tragedy that the cities they built have shunned them," the director told PTI.
Reddy said while some of these workers were beaten up by the police, others were denied permission to cross state borders.
Officials and leaders could not handle the situation as they could not foresee the magnitude of the problem, he said.
"When I interacted with them to know their story, I could see how betrayed they felt. Their anger and frustration were palpable," said Reddy, adding that he wants his audience to experience the journey, aspirations and stories of the migrant workers.
"The film not only deals with their suffering but is also a celebration of life and hope. It is treated as a road film where the audience can walk along with them, cry with them, laugh with them and empathise with them," he said.
In future, Reddy said, he would like to make another film on Indian migrants in Gulf region and the problems they faced during the pandemic.