Film ‘Pilibhit’ Portrays Gruesome Tale of People Sacrificing Elderly Parents for Compensation

Pilibhit is a north Indian district, close to Bareilly, bordering Nepal. According to a legend, Pilibhit got its name from the ‘Yellow-Wall’ (Pili meaning Yellow and Bhit meaning Wall), around 250-300 years back inhabitants of Pilibhit, the nomadic people used to make such walls around their villages, to safeguard themselves from the Tigers of the surrounding jungles. The villages of the district, falls in close proximity to ‘Pilibhit Tiger Reserve’.

There are multiple instances of man-eating tiger taking away people from these villages and the family of deceased gets compensated from the government. But in some cases, people either sacrifice their old parents or even sometimes elderly parents voluntarily sacrifice themselves for the government compensation, to overcome their hardships.

Speaking to News Sense, on the inspiration behind the film, Writer, Producer and Director of the film Ashutosh Chaturvedi says, “media reports about the heart wrenching incidents of Pilibhit shook us. Our determination to be as authentic as possible was especially a challenge given our limited resources. Our mad drive overcame the challenges and we were able to shoot before COVID outbreak and finish the film during the pandemic.

In the film ‘Pilibhit’ Siraj, a righteous flute maker lives with his mother and 3 children at the edge of the man-eating tiger infested forests of Pilibhit in Northern India. His crippling poverty, dwindling business of selling hand crafted bamboo flutes, and a series of tragedies slowly corner him to take a drastic decision that threatens his values and might snatch away a loved one. Inspired by true stories.

Ashutosh and Pankaj worked together on this project which is their first short film under the banner of ‘The House of Story’ and has already won several national and international accolades for working on this sensitive subject.

Ashutosh and Pankaj

Speaking on Pankaj Mavchi, Writer Producer Director of Pilibhit says, “Our Company The House of Story is a space to tell stories, no matter the screen size. If a story moves us in a way to give us sleepless nights, we have to tell it in the most compelling way possible.”

Pilibhit also is the flute bowl of India. The artisans led their lives by making flute, a musical instrument associated with Hindu god, Lord Krishna. Unfortunately, due uprooting of the narrow-gauge railway line and lack of support, the flute making cottage industry is dying and numbers of artisans have come down from 2500 approx. to somewhere around 200-300.

Now, the solutions to this problem can be employment opportunities for the people, artisans access to the market. It can be possible only with the intervention state government and working of the non government organization. Rather than paying the money to the people as compensation, the amount can be used for bettering the living condition of the people in the area by providing them work opportunities and promoting the works of artisans of the area.