International Works in Progress
In The Belly Of A Tiger
Inspired by a true incident, a 55-year-old woman suspected of killing herself at the hands of a tiger to save her family from their debts. It was suspected that the village
was sending its old people to be killed by a tiger in the village’s reserve to collect compensation from the government to survive. Bhagole and Prabhata are farmers without land. They cannot survive in their village, but cannot survive in the city as well. Their son works in a brick factory built on the ashes of human sacrifice and their two small grandchildren work as labour to earn for the family. One night, they find themselves in the middle of a forest, the village tiger reserve. Alone in the forest, they must decide who will surrender their life to the tiger to claim government compensation to save their family. The entire forest holds their memories of 40 years together and transforms into a supernatural, surreal final night together.
Director's note: In India, there are 28 farmers suicides every day, according to official statistics from the National Crime Bureau. Each death is witness to a crisis of such scale, “farmer suicide” has been a codified condition in Indian law for more than a decade, with compensation promised for families of loved ones whose death meets government criteria. The laws themselves recognise the brutal reality of farming as a livelihood for its more than 150 million farmers. Yet, they have done little to reduce the number of daily suicides, with suicides on the rise in many states in the
country. This film is about the invisible “others” - the farmers who no longer own land due to their debts, whose deaths will accordingly never qualify as “farmer suicides”, who are left to desperately search for alternative ways to die only so their families have a chance to survive.