The power of a documentary tracing a young Indian girl during some of her most important years while she is fighting for success. The Ladies First documentary is an inspirational story to encourage change, not only in India but globally.
About the moving Ladies First Documentary
Ladies First, a documentary produced by Shaana Levy and directed by Uraaz Bahl is the moving story of Deepika Kumari, an impoverished young girl from rural Jharkhand, the second poorest state in India. This is a survival story of a girl who went in search of food, stumbled upon archery and within four years became the number one archer in the world.
At 12, Deepika left home to find a better future. Searching for food and shelter, she happened upon a government-backed program for archery. Learning that team members got a meal a day and a roof over their heads. Deepika, who’d never heard of archery, asked for a tryout. Weak and malnourished, she failed miserably. She begged for time to learn and another chance. Through hard work and determination, by age 17, she ranked number one in the World and was on her way to the London 2012 Olympics to represent her country.
Difficulties for Women in India
The constitution of India has granted men and women equal rights, however, women in India continue to face numerous problems, including violent victimization through rape, acid throwing, dowry killings, honour killings, marital rape, and the forced prostitution of young girls. In 2012, the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked India as the worst G20 country in which to be a woman.
In villages like Deepika’s, the fate of young girls is extremely bleak. Their opportunities are limited to marriage and a life of child rearing and housework. Rural girls consistently have the hardest time moving out of poverty as their future and career is confined to follow the same trajectory as their mother’s, aunt’s and neighbour’s. In Deepika’s state, 60% of all girls get married before the legal age of 18 years old. Furthermore, they go from being the property of their fathers to that of their husbands.
Winds of Change
At the same time voices are raised across India. Voices emerging from different generations and economical classes. They scream for changes and equality. Director Uraaz Bahl and Producer Shaana Levy are part of these voices as they let us in to Deepika’s life. Together with a great team they allow us to follow the journey of a strong and talented young woman. She is refusing to be part of old traditions. Instead Deepika is part and contributes to winds of change that are blowing strong across the nation.
An emotional Documentary to wake up People
“People frivolously say ‘ladies first’ when asking a woman to sit down or walk through a door, but why don’t they say it when it really matters – when women want to progress and pursue say education or sports. Why don’t people say it then?” says Deepika Kumari, the protagonist of the Ladies First documentary.
The story throws viewers into an emotional rollercoaster of excitement, sadness, hopefulness and above all encouragement as they follow the journey of this brave girl. She does not just fight to become the number one archer in the world. We also get to follow her fight against the traditional norms existing in India’s rural communities.
Empowering young Women in India
“Having broken the glass ceiling of poverty, gender inequality and societal norms, we hope her story encourages parents to empower their daughters. And also to gift them the ability to dream without boundaries colouring their future potential”, tells us Director Uraaz Bahl.
“Our goal is to make sure that schools and educational institutions use this video for educational purposes. To inspire today’s students and break the unequal norms that exist in India. The keys for changes in India are education and the young generations”, says producer Shaana Levy.
“The focus is what is right before you- to give it your best. It sows the seed of tomorrow.” – Kiran Bedi, Indian politician, social activist, former tennis player and a retired police officer.
Shaana Levy and Uraaz Bahl
Hope for the Future
The Ladies First documentary leaves you filled with different emotions but above all with a large admiration for this young girl. And also hope for the future of India’s girls, even though the road seems very long.
Written by Mimmi Andersson