Amol Lalzare is an auto-rickshaw driver and a community journalist from Mumbai. He documents life and struggles of the marginalised communities in the maximum city.
Amol Lalzare balances life as an auto-rickshaw driver and a community journalist who is documenting life and struggles of the marginalised communities in Mumbai, the financial capital of India. Previously a camera person in Bollywood, Amol found that the film world does provide for survival, but not enough for the mind. “We were just puppets for directors who worked long working hours, in the background.” Having learned the aesthetics of film-making from the largest film industry in the world, Amol has used this skill to make videos to help residents of his home Sathenagar and millions of Mumbaikars dwelling in slums, by voicing their issues and solving them by holding the responsible authorities accountable.
Amol finds that the city he loves seems to forget its people and leave them behind. Concerned by superficial, surface reporting by the mainstream media, Amol knew that becoming a part of media himself will give better chances to voice the community's real problems.
His first foray into filmmaking was when he was trained by VV as a part of the Community Video Unit for Akshara, an organisation in Mumbai. In the unit, he worked on the video documenting the negligence experienced by the marginalised communities in Mumbai, the financial capital of the country. After the project ended, Amol joined Video Volunteers as a Community Correspondent.
Since then, armed with a hand-held camera, Amol has been documenting a range of issues affecting the marginalised, from poor sanitation to corruption to shrinking spaces in the city and displacement in the slums, where more than half of the city's residents live. He uses the documentation to put forth an evidence-based report in front of the authorities to find a solution to the problem. A case study was written in 2013 about Amol’s work by the Video4Change network. The case study looked at how one of Amol’s videos had led to a bridge being installed over a railroad track, near to a community where many blind people lived.
Amol feels that the mainstream movies and television have ignored to bring a narrative of a lower-middle-class character on the screen. Added to that, the death of single-screen, affordable theatres and affordable channel connections has meant that the lower-middle class has limited access to entertainment and art. His stories fill this void among the community. “They see situations similar to their lives, familiar faces and immediately feel a connection to these stories. A story true in one slum, resonates with another slum,” says Amol. One day he aims to create a television channel, specially meant for the marginalised communities to gain knowledge and entertainment through documentaries and drama.
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