Born At Home

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English (subtitled), 62 min, 2000, India

'Born at Home' observes indigenous birth practices and practitioners in parts of India - rural Rajasthan, Bihar, and an urban working class area of Delhi. Poised between social reality and the eternal mystery of childbearing, the film presents an intricate delineation of the figure of the dai (midwife), who is almost always a low-caste, poor woman. The dais' methods are holistic, conceiving of childbirth not as pathology but continuation of organic life. Dais handle about 50% of the births in India. Her inherited skills, though accessible and low-cost, are continually devalued by the mainstream. The film poses a critical question ' why does the state not recognise the almost one million traditional practitioners in the country?

Matrika, Sublunar Films
Creative Crew
Rita Banerji, Sameera Jain
Monica Bhasin, Paramhans Baluni
Asheesh Pandya, Rita Banerji, Sameera Jain
Susmit Sen
Awards and Screenings:

Selected Screenings:
Mediawave film and video festival, Hungary, 2001
The Margaret Mead Festival, New York, 2001, and the Mead Travelling Festival
Film South Asia, Kathmandu, 2001, and Travelling Film South Asia
7th International Short & Independent Film Festival, Bangladesh, 2002
Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), 2002

The film has been shown at several other festivals in India, conferences and health, academic, gender forums all over the world.