Reaching 10 people groups in Rajasthan, North India (52 million people)
The Thar Desert’s dullness comes to life with the bright colors of local art and the women’s saris and bangles. The women’s expected modesty could barely be seen in their dances, smiles, confidence, and exhilarating charm. The luxurious palaces and forts of the Maharajas seemed incongruous with the simplicity of the villagers. But the most striking contrast was to witness that almost fifty-six million people in ten people groups are still unreached. The Shekawati, Mewati, Merwari, Mewari, Wadgi, Bagri, Harauti, Godwari, and Dhundari, are believed to be less than 0.1% Christian and among the Marwari 1% are Christians.
Over twenty staff and students were privileged to be part of a Create International’s outreach to produce an evangelistic film and animated movie for ten unreached people groups in Rajasthan. Because of the unique “culture cluster” nature of the Rajasthani peoples, we were able to create a narrative film that visually spoke clearly to all of the individual language groups. This kind of shared culture, yet diverse linguistics is quite rare among South Asian peoples.
Everyone made contributions to our production-from the drivers of rickshaws and taxis we hired for our daily transportation, to the Hindu family providing our filming location. Sacrifice was evident from everyone including the few local believers. Some traveled eleven hours just to be part of this production. Deepak, the head of the Marwari family we worked with was tall in stature with a fantastic mustache. His presence commanded respect. We were filming a specific scene where a sickly father-in-law is near death. We had only the wife, son, daughter and daughter-in-law planned to be in the scene. Deepak advised us, “This scene would be more true if there was extended family present. All the relatives would come and be mourning together.” We asked if his family would mind being a part of that scene. The response was an overwhelming and enthusiastic YES! Not only did Deepak and his extended family join in, but also the taxi drivers wanted to have a part in our film! I watched the nervous giggles, the joy and the satisfaction play across their faces that This was not just Create International’s project. This movie belonged to everyone. It was truly an indigenous film.
Our film tells the story of an orphaned young woman raised and married off at a young age by her grandparents. This movie depicts Jesus’ transformational love and healing through the main character’s inability to conceive a son and the rejection and abuses she suffers being both a wife and a daughter-in-law. One of the actresses who was cast as the heroine’s mother-in-law is an Indian believer. Her character is absolutely essential for the film, but is neither kind nor loving. This made the role challenging for her to play. One day while filming a scene with the lead actress, she left the set weeping. A few minutes later she returned and asked us how we knew so much about her life. Unbeknownst to us, this movie was the story of her life–the story of many Rajasthani women.
Directing, costuming, set production, crew organization, feeding large groups of people, camera operation, lighting (and more) was only a small portion of what we were able to experience in this cross-cultural film production. Each of us had the privilege of allowing our lives to overlap with others –some of whom were believers and others not. This overlap is where other people really get a personal view of what Jesus is like through our lives. We are all continuing to create together with God –a film for His glory among over fifty million people. Each person’s contribution and part is essential. This project was truly “with and for and by the people”.
Progress Report: All 10 dramatic productions and over six of the Rajasthan animations are being distributed in Rajasthan with very encouraging feedback. Please pray for responsive hearts and the finalization of the Rajasthan animations in all 10 languages. Plans for Hindi versions are also underway.
“We are showing the film in Rajasthan so much, also result is very good. Thank for your hard work on the movie.“
Mission leader in Jaipur
Rajasthani Marwari | Bonus Track: Marwari Music Video
A young girl married off to an abusive family, wrongly accused of stealing from her in-laws, is rejected and mistreated. Her mother-in-law takes away her first-born girl child, she loses all hope and contemplates suicide. Only to remember the words of her father, “God made you special and he loves you.” She meets a new friend who comes to her aid. This friend shares about the love of Christ and invites her to a “satsang” fellowship where she comes to accept God’s love for her. Her life is changed and her family also. This film is a great way to introduce Marwari-speakers from a Hindu background to Jesus in their context.
This DVD contains presentations with and without English subtitles.
BONUS Track: A special Marwari dance and music video creatively presenting a compelling Gospel message and portraying the vibrant arts and beauty of the peoples of Rajasthan!