Review of film 'Wasted'

Tuesday 31 July 2007

Film>> Wasted Swecha Productions directed by Anshul Uniyal and Vimalendu Jha 16 minutes

Ragpickers: an ostracised lot< (Credit: Agnimirh Basu / CSE)
Wasted captures the journey of waste from an apartment in Vasant Kunj, a neighbourhood locality in south Delhi, to landfills outside the colony, where recyclable waste is collected and sold to factories.

"In 2005, I walked through a landfill in Delhi and the stench stayed with me for two days. Naturally, I began thinking about my dustbin and its changing profile of waste," says director Vimalendu Jha, reflecting on how the film was conceptualised. According to Jha, a family in the 1980s generated 7 kg of waste a week, which has now gone up to 30 kg. Shockingly, however, only 10 per cent of the waste can be broken down, or bio-degraded, compared to 90 per cent in the '80s.

The film presents the lives of an estimated 100,000 ragpickers, continually ostracised and called 'Bangladeshis'. These branded 'lesser humans' save the municipality a whopping Rs 21.6 crore annually. But herein lies the ultimate irony of mutual benefit where we exist to create more waste, only for them to sift it and recycle it back into the system.

In a deliberate attempt to exemplify the ignorance of citizens and officialdom towards solid waste management, Sajid Akbar, the films editor, has generously used fuliginous images of bubbling toxic waste and methane in Delhi's landfills.

However, the stop-and-go voiceover may have been better suited for a travel and living production. Mona Joshi's sophistication fails to capture the aspirational trip of the city, its appetite to consume, combined with its utter disregard of waste disposal mechanisms. Maybe Jha, a public speaker, could have voiced a personal and emotive narrative instead.

Yet this does not impede the message of the film. The lens, ably steered by Anshul Uniyal and Jha, makes you sit up and take notice of the multitude of problems related to waste-disposal, which is linked well to Delhi's culture of inaction.

The vocals and percussions of Valentine Shipley accompanied by Swecha's in-house band 'Jigri' complement the visuals. The dvd, priced at Rs 150 is strongly recommended for the ignorant, and is a must-watch for those with a conscience.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top