No Problem!

Six Months with the Barefoot Grandmas
Director: Yasmin Kidwai
English (subtitled), 57 min, 2012, India
The journey of women from 6 countries to rural villages in India to become Barefoot Solar Engineers.
No Problem!
A still from No Problem!

Middle aged village women from six different countries land in an Indian village to learn how to construct solar electrical systems. Many of them are barely literate and only speak their own mother tongue. Their instructors are simple folk from Tilonia, Rajasthan who possess no degrees. These two unlikely groups bond over concepts such as solar panels, circuit boards, charge controllers and electrical resistance. They are participating in a unique programme designed by the Barefoot College, a pathbreaking institution that has revolutionised the lives of thousands of people all over the world since it was founded in 1977.

The film follows one batch of women trainees on a life-altering six month journey. Starting with a bewildered arrival at an unfamiliar international airport, learning to deal with sabji-roti and "oil jyaada-jyaada" while figuring out how to fit tiny components into circuit boards and connect wires to batteries, creating a sensation at the Pushkar camel fair, working through the unfamiliar winter chill, swapping songs and stories of life back home, they finally return triumphant as Barefoot Solar Engineers, bringing light into remote villages where electricity has so far been only a dream.

Producer: Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs
Director: Yasmin Kidwai
Camera: Harmeet Basur, Fazal Kidwai, Dinesh Shenoy
Script: Yasmin Kidwai
Editing: Jabeen Merchant, Nimit Vats
Sound: Ravi Sharma, Christopher Burchell, Mohandas V. P.
Music: Rahul Ram, Amit Kilam
  • Best Documentary, Delhi International Film Festival, 2013
  • Best Documentary, River to River, Florence Indian Film Festival, 2013
  • Best Documentary Award and ‘Ousmane Sembene Films for Development’ Award, Zanzibar International Film Festival, 2013
Select Screenings:
  • 7th CMS Vatavaran, New Delhi, 2014
  • 15th Madurai Film Festival, 2013
  • Tasveer, 8th Seattle South Asian Film Festival, 2013
About the Director:

Yasmin Kidwai has produced and/ or directed over 50 documentaries related to issues such as women's empowerment; women's reservation; old age issues and tourism. She has also worked extensively with government agencies and NGOs across India. Kidwai is on the governing body of two prestigious women's colleges in New Delhi: Kamla Nehru College and Gargi College. She is also the treasurer of Kamla Nehru College. Besides films related to urban and rural development; Kidwai has made numerous films on women's subjects. Her film Purdah Hai Purdah about the relationship between women and the veil has been to various film festivals; as has her film Jagrit Itni kin Chanchanna; a film on what empowerment means to three women from Madhya Pradesh's patriarchal society.

Posted by Magic Lantern Movies LLP on February 3, 2014
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On the occasion of the opening of Persistence Resistance 2014, we are delighted to bring you … Delhi launch of the book PROJECT CINEMA CITY An anthology that highlights desires, imaginations, spaces, access, languages and viewing conventions that inform the cinemas Bombay/Mumbai makes, and the cities its cinema produces. Based on text and image essays, graphics, annotated artworks, films, documentation and maps. Editors: Madhusree Dutta, Kaushik Bhaumik and Rohan Shivkumar Foreward: Arjun...Delhi launch of the book 'Project Cinema City'

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