On January 6, 2010, SAATH’s Samvad Community Video Unit (CVU) screened its anti-tobacco film, Chokdi, meaning square after the cigarette brand Four Square.
As the CVU arrives in the early evening, people standing at their doorsteps or looking out their windows begin asking, what will be screened today? Children hear that Samvad CVU is in the neighbourhood and start gathering around them. Then the team pulls out their loudspeaker and begins calling, “Come, come! Come watch the screening! Come!” They walk around the streets calling door to door for people to watch the new video magazine. In a few minutes the crowd has grown. An estimated 70 people have come, most of them children, to watch the new video on the harmful effects of tobacco. Screenings are always followed by discussion, helping raise awareness in the community. The 20-minute Gujarati-language film is screened in three locations simultaneously. The impacts of the screenings can be seen as community members become aware of their rights and demand what they are entitled to. They bring accountability to government and offer better choices for the urban poor.
After watching Chokdi, a local school principal has given up smoking. The film has been screened to the Gujarat Health Department and the Police Commissioner’s Office. The Government now uses Samvad’s film Chokdi to inform students on the dangers of tobacco in schools across Ahmedabad. To date, Chokdi has been screened 100 times across Ahmedabad.
Samvad, the Community Video Unit, was founded to empower slum residents to advocate for themselves. Through regular video magazines, filmed and screened entirely by community members, Samvad provides an inclusive platform for awareness and dialogue about social issues and constructive methods to address them.
Videos are available for purchase for Rs.250 each, and clips from the video magazines can be found online at: http://tinyurl.com/ch19-SamvadVideos. For queries regarding film production, special screenings, purchase of films, or for a more detailed portfolio, contact Samvad through the Saath Main Office.