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Beyond Ratings
Aprajita Gupta

DOCUMENTARY FILM
37 MINUTES 29 SECONDS | HINDI | ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 2024

Trailer and production stills of Beyond Ratings

Synopsis

Three women share their experience of navigating the app-world in the metro city. Their sharing reveal gendered battles as platform workers and the tiresome reality of gig-workers' identities against the absent bosses, masked behind their apps. Filmed in the streets of New Delhi, India, the protagonists share about their door-to-door gigs, the surveillance at their workplaces and the absence of accountability in the urban landscape.

Filmmaker's statement

 

I see my role as a filmmaker in Beyond Ratings as a curious collaborator and an app user wanting to
understand the gap between technology and workers, to document and preserve their resilience in the online
labour landscape. Smartphone technology has created opportunities for all class groups, across regions and
has even lured migrants from towns and villages in India to metro cities, to find their working identities.
Working outside of domestic spaces as gig workers, such as beauticians, drivers and delivery persons, has
given women migrants too the confidence to survive on their own. Within this context, looking at the
changing reality of labour landscape and the ambition of women to work remain central to the making of this
film.


My research was shaped through newspaper readings and collaboration. Despite a plethora of news articles
on the exploitation of gig-workers, the issue seemed to fall on deaf ears. I found my access to women who
shared the failure of flexible work hours, limited access to bosses, vulnerability with customers, and more.
With my camera, I began to watch the app world not as a customer but from the point of view of the workers,
particularly women workers. The crisis seemed personal the more I met women workers on this side of the
world. I wondered about the visibility of their gendered issues. I realised that the challenges faced by women
workers were layered and more complex given the amount of gig work they tried to balance with their
unshared domestic responsibilities and at-home oppressions that included bread-earning in poor
households, violent partners or single women raising children.


The form of the film emerged when women started interacting with the camera. I wanted to follow the
perspectives of women, to give them the agency to represent their experiences and allow their subjectivities
to reflect a macro story. As such, the film became my first collaborative effort where I saw the protagonists
unafraid to share.


My relationship with the app world was limited to ordering, booking and occasionally rating rude male drivers.
With my process, I watched the online landscape differently and saw a huge part of India living and surviving
with online work. And I saw myself as a customer, deeply unaware of the lives beyond. I started questioning
the ethics of the platforms we depend so heavily on and wondered if the convenience of our lives came at
the cost of workers’ identities. Through the film, I intend to celebrate the resilience and unwavering spirit of
all gig-workers and hope for their protests to gain momentum.

About the filmmaker

Aprajita is an independent filmmaker and artist driven by her curiosity for novel artistic expressions. Her narratives explore themes of gender, urban and rural migration and technology. The core of her practice draws inspiration from lived experiences and the resilience of people navigating through their lives. Growing up in a small town in Uttar Pradesh, she deeply reflects on personal narratives and takes a keen interest in the nuances of home and belonging. Her student film ‘Jaagte Khwaab’, explores the theme of identity and sexuality, screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival, 2023. Her next film is a personal film about the dispersal of belongingness in the perceived lives of her mother and grandmother, as a result of marital migration.

Credits

 

Collaborators | Gunjan, Priyanka & Manju

Direction, Camera, Script | Aprajita Gupta

Editing | Aprajita Gupta, Aditi Bhande

Sound Recording | Geetanjali Kalta

Re-recording Mixer | Sahil Asthana

Colorist | Sourav Yadav

Production Stills | Bhanu Samrat, Sukriti Mathur

Equipments | Photosystems India Pvt. Ltd. , New Delhi, Ajay Singh

Special Thanks | All India Workers Association, Gig Workers Association, Dharmendra Kumar, Convenor (AIWA), Manju Goel, Secretary (AIWA)

Acknowledgements | Priyanka Devi, Gunjan Sharma, Neelam Gaur, Lovely Gupta, Kavya Asthana, Duttatreya Dey, Sourabh Arora, Chandan Kumar, Ajit, Seema Singh, Sarla Yadav, Karishma Mehrotra, Paroma Ray, Dhawal Asthana, Paritosh Bahukhandi, Vilasini Kailasam and anonymous women who shared their stories.

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