A Woman Of No Consequence / A Fragile Son

Hindu devotees bathe in the River Ganges (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

This week on And The Winner Is...we are featuring two documentaries, both about people from India.

Born into a cultured family in the ancient Indian kingdom of Travancore, she read all of the novels of Charles Dickens before she turned ten. Ten was also the age she was forced to leave school to get married. At 15 she was a mother. And for most of her adult life, Sethu Ramaswamy was in the shadows, trying to find her place in the light.

Then, at age 80, her memoir, Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Woman, was published, to great fanfare and acclaim all over India. "Finally, an icon," wrote one reviewer. "A woman comes of age," read another.

This is the surprising third act in a drama full of surprises, the story of a child-bride whose husband was both her true love and the biggest obstacle to her freedom, a story of a grown woman who set out one day for a life she always wanted.

Producer Sarmishta Subramanian is a grand-daughter of Sethu Ramaswamy and she brings us her amazing story. Her documentary is called "A Woman of No Consequence" and it won a Gracie Award in 2009.

The story-teller in our second feature was also born in India. Surjit Sachdev grew up in a conservative family, and he was expected to follow the footsteps of his totalitarian father. So he became, just like his dad, an engineer. But the family tradition ended when Surjit's son Kapel was born with a severe mental disability. Through the years, Surjit's frustrations increased. He became too strict with Kapel and then one day, a major confrontation with Kapel forced Surjit to examine his competence as a father.

"A Fragile Son" was produced by Surjit Sachdev and Carma Jolly. In 2007 it won a Silver Medal in a cathegory for a Best Documentary at Third Coast Festival.


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