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“Trapped” Reminds You Of The Little Things We Ignore Every Day

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What would your natural reaction be when you feel hot and have the option of either turning on the AC or go for the fan switch? You might not have had an AC while growing up in a small town, but coming to a city like Mumbai instils in you a sense of ease, it channelizes the feeling of comfort in you, brick by brick, and forces you to go for the remote of an AC instead of the fan switch.

This is how your priorities shift. This is how you give into capitalism. This is how you get “Trapped”!

We live in a world where food, grocery, clothes and even friends are only as far as a few taps on our mobile phones. But what if the same phone runs out of battery and you are locked in a high-rise building with no food, electricity and anyone around? Vikramaditya Motwane, created this very scenario with the immensely talented Rajkummar Rao stranded in an isolated room of a high-rise building in Mumbai, fighting for his survival.

Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), who works in one of the companies where all you get is a cubicle and a desk to call your own, meets Noorie (Gitanjali Thapa) in his office and falls in love with her. Noorie has been set up by her parents in an arranged marriage and is set to get hitched in two months’ time. Despite this, the two get close and an intimate encounter between them in Shaurya’s rented flat triggers their need to get married as soon as possible. To get married, not only do they need a marriage registrar, they need a house of their own; which is an abysmally utopian entity in a maddening city like Mumbai. Shaurya starts falling into the trap of the city’s conditions for a better life, from this very need.

The build up of “Trapped” is meticulously planned as Shaurya steps into a flat in which electricity often trips. When he goes for the AC remote instead of the fan switch, he ensures that the flat goes out of electricity supply. The flat has no regular water supply, may be due to clearance issues from the municipality. All of it makes the ‘Swarg’, which is the name of the apartment, a living hell for Shaurya.

Motwane takes charge of the film, beginning his observation from the very moment Shaurya gets locked in the new house that he has selected to turn into a home. The very first call that Shaurya makes after he gets trapped inside his own house goes unanswered. The next call goes straight to a company dealing with numbers of people from various occupations, trying to sell him movie tickets while his phone is running low on battery. He neither thinks of calling one of his ex-roommates nor any of his close associates. He instead calls a company that provides a number of another person, who then provide their services, much like the food delivery services we enjoy, isn’t it? Well, eventually the battery dies, and with that Shaurya’s chances of easy survival.

It is when you are left with bare minimum that you find value in the little things that you have forgotten in your life. Be it the lovely sequence where Shaurya creates a flaming ‘HELP’ sign with his clothes or devises a method for storing water when there’s an unexpected Mumbai rain, “Trapped” reminds you of the important little things that we often overlook in our daily lives. Material benefits available in the flat such as the television set, fridge and geyser were all used, but for a different purpose as Shaurya attempts to survive.

Technology, that takes a lot out from our lives in terms of personal values, has been stripped to bare minimum in this survival saga. After the phone battery dies, shedding of technology and material things starts taking place through the narrative. The very material benefits of the flat that attracted Shaurya in the beginning, start to go out of the house once his fight for survival starts.The first thing to go out from the flat was the television set, which is unsuccessful at attracting the half-deaf watchman’s attention who is resting on the patio. The geyser was plucked out for a possible drop of water while the fridge was dismantled only to save the necessary water for the next few days of Shaurya’s survival.

Rajkummar Rao has not only lived the character of Shaurya in the film but understood the process as well. The reality hits you hard in a city like Mumbai, where living standards are terribly high and you need to do a lot to catch up. Rao has grasped the essence of the character flawlessly. The only friend that accompanied Shaurya during his stay inside the locked house, was the one he feared the most – a rat. Giving away your moral values and succumbing under the pressure of hunger to hunt a bird and eat it, is one of the biggest challenges Shaurya faces inside the house. Especially for a person who strongly opposes the idea of killing a life for the mere taste of it, “Trapped” feels like going back to the earliest civilisation when Shaurya turns into a hunter-gatherer caveman for survival.

Transformation of a typical Hindu, middle-class, god-fearing man to a self-sufficient, confident Shaurya is what “Trapped” has portrayed through the top-notch acting skills of Rajkummar Rao.

“Trapped” scores high in its tightly written screenplay and wonderfully measured cuts of Nitin Baid. The music of the film, composed by Alokananda Dasgupta, heightens the drama of the film to its umpteen layers. Deliberation upon the look and appearance of Rao in the film with every passing day inside the house is well thought out and credit for that should go to the make-up team (Zuby Johal and Rajiv Subba) of the film.

The city played an important part in the film as well with Motwane putting his signature at the very end, showing a trapped city of Mumbai through the glass of the same flat.

“Trapped” not only talks about people’s material inclination but also highlights the alienating nature of the bustling city. A city, where brokers will pounce upon the opportunity to rent you an unliveable flat, where the noise is such that your voice will remain mostly unheard by others living around you. There are moments in Trapped which will leave you gasping for breath, much like the isolating feeling that the city emanates to its people running behind quantifiable assets in their individual lives. “Trapped” is an important reminder for us to immediately stop whatever we are doing and think about the little joys of our lives that we are sacrificing for the bigger goals of ours.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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