Human Interests and Social Pursuits

SOUL SEARCHING – Face of the Faceless

Face of the Faceless, a film by Shaison P Ouseph. The film maker himself shares with us his experience of making this film and why he made the said film.

As much as film is about entertainment, I believe it is also about empowerment. That was the reason why I thought of making a feature film on Sr. Rani Maria, The Face of the Faceless… It’s also a dream come true. A dream that I have been dreaming of for the last 5 years, a dream that I have been working for the last 5 years… A dream that many have failed to understand for the last 5 years… Has come true.

It is based on the true story of her life and her death and her influence in the lives of so many.

And if you ask me any specific reason why I have decided to make this film: Yes, first I love film making and above all as the director of this film, I strongly believe that Sr. Rani Maria’s story deserves to be told. Because Sr. Rani Maria is a true example to the world as she fought against the injustices around her. The injustices she fought against were local in nature but have universal application. The story of her life, the story of her commitment and hard work, above all a mother’s forgiveness towards her daughter’s killer.

The making of this was not that easy as we talk: there were 150 people as crew and more than 80 artists from various states across India. Language, food, climate, everything was a concern for all of us. Shooting in 38-40 degree Celsius is not a joke. Reaching to those locations, some were at very remote places where the vehicles couldn’t reach both for the people as well as transport the equipment. Many fell sick and had to take them to hospitals which were very far.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many people that have worked tirelessly to make this film. A special thanks to the producers Fr. Pesso and Sandra, the directorial team, Script, Camera, Art, Costume, Makeup, and production team, you all did an amazing job.

Through this film I wish to bring attention to the needs of oppressed people throughout the world. I also want to highlight through this the continued fight for justice in India by our brethren.

As you are aware the film has a far greater power to move minds than either the written or spoken words, I hope this film The Face of the Faceless will also give a face and a voice to the people around us. 

Nature provides for need but not for greed, we are experiencing the same even today in world clueless (raging pandemics- climate disasters- increased hatred- divisive tendencies) about the direction in which it is headed. This is the occasion when we turn around towards leaders and role models who can lead us through the tunnel of darkness. Thus the depiction of the story, of a leader who championed the cause of humanity.

It takes the might of a leader, to be one and support the downtrodden and that too in a land completely unknown. Sr. Rani Maria, decided to be with the marginalized community, in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), as a part of her commitment, where she realized her life mission of accomplishing sustainable living amenities, employment, education for the community, that she worked with. The community proudly remembers her as “Indore Ki Rani”. She did this, not being the boss or the instruction lady, but being one and her role model was none other than world renowned Mother Teresa. This tale depicts the trials and tribulations of a women who rose above her boundaries of religion, realized the universal oneness and committed her life for women empowerment much before these words started getting acceptance.

The issues of upper caste feudalism, the debt trap induced by zamindars & eventual suicide of farmers, the bureaucratic blockade of the government bodies, all these still plague the system that which we claim as democracy. Sr. Rani Maria realized that the individual spirit rooted in spiritual wisdom can rise above all this and still attempt to deliver good for the human cause of equitable development. The narrative takes its course, through the time of her eventful experiences (1990 to 1994)  in Bhopal & Indore, encountering life risking incidents with powerful zamindars, rustic atmosphere,  where she single handedly motivated the villagers to stand in unity with her practicing non- violence and achieved victory.

The eventual test for leaders rooted with spiritual wisdom & uncompromising allegiance to truth, un wavering faith in the championed cause, comes when they are challenged with sacrificing their lives for the same. They do it with a smile on their face and name of the lord in their last breath .The immortals in history being  Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King. The fate that awaited Sr. Rani Maria was no different. The family that gave birth to such an immortal soul, behaved in accordance, when deciding  to pardon the murderer of this heinous crime, keeping no grudge in mind. This surely speaks of ennobled compassion, sacrifice, and acceptance as ordained by immortal masters who still continue to lead us through examples even in times that look dismal.

My attempt as a film maker here, is to depict the immortal life of this great leader through the life inspiring incidents, the struggle and victories leading to her sacrifice for the cause championed by Sr. Rani Maria.

Shaison P Ouseph

Dr. Shaison P. Ouseph is an internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker, speaker and positive change agent based in Mumbai. He is one of the directors at ‘Matrix of Learning’ in the United States and the Head of Department for Film & Television at XIC, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *