Cinematographer: Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva
Rahul Jain’ s Machines brings to light an issue which no longer seems to be important enough for the TRP hungry TV news channels – the plight of workers in a private Textile Factory in Gujarat. The state of Gujarat was branded as a big “success” story with figures of its high industrial growth labeled across front page newspapers, hoardings, and television ads. Journalists became cheerleaders and guaranteed the success of the behemoth PR machinery of the state government.Documentaries like”Machines” are made by BBC and AL Jazeera all the time but such is the state of mainstream journalism in this country that it needed an independent filmmaker like Rahul Jain to debunk the false claims and show us that as far as rights for the proletariat is concerned, things have hardly improved.
“The only satisfaction I get is to know that everyone is going to die at the end, even the rich.” bemoans a factory worker.We get to know that these people work 12-14 hours a day at an exiguous pay of 210 rupees per shift.We see broken, tired bodies lay like corpses over sheets of white fabric which they painstakingly make.Illegal Child labor is quite rampant in the factory and the contractor, as well as the manager, seems to be deliberately oblivious to it.
The cinematography by Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva excellently captures each portion of the factory with understated elegance and poetry. The camera takes us through: myriad colors and patterns of fabric incessantly coming out of the printing machines like a sartorial waterfall, barrels of chemicals and dyes, huge rusty rollers and steam boilers.
“Machines” carries the central idea in its name which is that for the owners of these big factories, their workers are not humans but are not different to the rest of factory’s rusty metallic machinery. It’s nothing but harrowing to find out that the owner of the textile factory considers a well-fed worker detrimental to their productivity.He brazenly endorses even lesser pay and employee benefits for his workers. This film is quite depressing in the way it shows the helplessness of the indigent workers, most of them farmers coming from different states, struggling just to survive and hoping someone listens to their silent wails.