On International Women’s Day March 8, Hope B-Lit, a Southern California-based nonprofit organization that highlights social issues through short films, released a short film, “E-Rickshawali 2021,” which tells the incredible journey of Kiran Wati, a 21-year-old e-rickshaw driver who transforms into a boy during the day to rough it out on the streets of Delhi.
Written and directed by Indian American director-producer Ruhi, aka Rohini Hak – also the founder of Hope B-Lit – and executive produced by Archita Mandal, the short film is an uplifting tale inspired by the sheer grit and ingenuity of a young Indian woman’s determination to support her family and make a life for herself.
National award-winning actor Manoj Joshi lends his voice as narrator. Kiran Wati and upcoming actress Srestha Banerjee (“Saving Chintu”) lead the film’s cast.
Music is by Farhan Mohamed. Vocalists Gayatri Iyer Ganjawala and Nadeem Khan bring to life the catchy title number, “E-Rickshawali.” Cinematographers Juhi Sharma (DOP) and Damini Kaushik brilliantly capture the essence of Delhi, its glorious history, and its modern bustling streets.
A Voices Unheard Films, the media unit of Hope B-Lit, produced “E-Rickshawali 2021” in collaboration with Silicon Valley-based Tapping Wand Productions.
Both production houses are mission-driven to bring to the world stories and voices that are waiting to be heard, said Hak.
“I met Kiran entirely by chance in Delhi,” said Hak. “In spite of the hardships that the pandemic brought down on daily-wage earners like her, Kiran’s spirit and will to fight it all just shone through. I had to tell her story. That is the kind of stories we tell at Voices Unheard Films. Our films are a call to action so people can get touched by what they see and take the next steps to help our protagonists.”
“E-Rickshawali 2021” captures one such serendipitous moment that transforms the protagonist’s life.
Besides telling her story, Hope B-Lit also helped Wati purchase an e-rickshaw.
“Now a proud owner of her own e-rickshaw, Kiran can save the money she paid as rent to her rickshaw owner and use it to pursue her education,” Hak added. “As always, Hope team did the detailed ground level work and her license, registration and insurance were also completed and provided.”
While in India, the team also helped women farmers with sewing machines, older people with slippers and oral care awareness.