Directed by Kandarpa Baghar/ Reviewed by Antonio Rozich
Many people, especially in the West, feel that 21st century brought a monumental social change. Discrimination is dropping, basic human rights are finally being respected, etc. Yet, as we’re entering the 3rd decade, you don’t have to go outside your country to realize that’s not exactly true. Even with the Internet, when connecting and meeting other people is easier than ever, what we can describe as discrimination 101, still exists. It is discrimination 101 because it should be so obvious that it isn’t right. There aren’t any subtle plays behind the curtain; the injustice is as obvious as a flashlight in pitch black night. And yet, it exists.
So when a movie like Knowing Anamika by Kandarpa Baghar comes along, the topic might feel a bit out-of-date. Aren’t there already more than enough movies criticizing social injustice, discrimination, racism, and so on? But if that were true, then why does it fell that in this so-called “woken up” 21st century that many basic human rights are still thrown into mud? And in that case, movies like Knowing Anamika are more than necessary. Especially when a movie starts with one important topic and transforms it into an even bigger one.All in 10 minutes.
The movie gets straight to the point in the first 2 minutes. Anamika is a young woman working in a sales company. Although diligent, Anamika experiences daily discrimination by her boss and a couple of other coworkers. Discrimination is based on Anamika’s gender, clothing style, but also race.
Faced with the daily struggle, Anamika manages to find the strength to stand up for herself, but not in a violent and disruptive manner. Instead of taking the route of destruction, Anamika, takes the route of development and progress to fight back.
And that’s exactly where the movie stands out. Instead of creating a character that fights back against injustice by bringing the supposed enemy down, Baghar creates a character who fights back by creating, not destroying.
This message is scattered across the entire film and although it mainly focuses on Anamika’s career, the movie takes a step further. Anamika is the representative of the discriminated, but it shouldn’t be about her. More specifically, it shouldn’t be just about her. Because, although the viewer will feel good about Anamika fighting the injustice, the viewer shouldn’t forget it doesn’t stop there.
World is inheritably unfair, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Directly inspired by the great Mahatma Gandhi, Anamika isn’t afraid to be the change she wants to see in the world. She is kind, but she isn’t weak. She is successful, but she isn’t arrogant. People often forget how it truly doesn’t take much to contribute to a better world.
All it takes is an action, no matter how small. But most of us give up before even taking the first step. We discourage ourselves by saying it can’t be done or that it won’t make a difference. Who are we to have the power to change the world? But one action is all it takes.
And that action won’t just change the world; it will change you as well. Anamika, a young woman who suffers daily discrimination, starts as a weak person with not much to look forward to in her life. But as she takes the small actions to make her surrounding a better place, she becomes a better and more fulfilled human as well.
A single Anamika’s action starts a perpetual cycle of improvement and reward.It starts with her, moves to her career and finally expands to her surroundings. From Anamika to people that look down upon her and finally, people in general.
Yes, often than not, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the light is only truly lost when you give up to the darkness. With that said, there might be an additional message in Knowing Anamika – message hidden in the more obvious one. Maybe to make a change, first the light must go out. Maybe, to illuminate the world, first we must face the darkness – both alone and together.