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Hengam Riba


Poster, trailer and production stills of Racified


Driven by the need for education and better economic opportunities, individuals from various tribes confront the realities of being marginalised as they strive to build new lives away from their ancestral lands. This film narrates the experiences of one such growing northeastern community in Delhi. It is an introspective piece, centered on the subtle yet profound exchanges between Dinyu, Rubi, and Yasa — three northeastern women who navigate the complex terrain of work, education, race and gender.

Filmmaker's statement


As an Indigenous tribal woman from the North East and a Social Sciences Researcher, my artistic pursuits delve into the exploration of Gender, Politics, Race, and Identity. Through the project ‘Racified’, I aim to reflect on the often-overlooked struggles of women from the Northeast who migrate to metropolitan cities in pursuit of livelihood and education. Documentary Cinema, deliberately chosen as the medium, possesses the potential to catalyse societal change, and my film endeavours to initiate introspection regarding the everyday challenges of race and gender faced by Northeastern women in cities like Delhi.


Moreover, ‘Racified’ is a personal endeavour aimed at expanding and understanding the boundaries of filmmaking while authentically representing the Northeastern experience. As a social science student, the power dynamics between the camera and the subject are often contested; I sought to bridge this gap through engaged participation in the frame. With this approach, the film intimately follows the lives of Dinyu, Yasa, and Rubi, showcasing their resilience in navigating everyday negotiations as women of race. Safdarjung emerges as a significant setting, symbolising a safe haven amidst racial prejudices, where Northeastern culture flourishes through food, customs and shared identity.


Through Dinyu's exploration of Safdarjung's vibrant streets, the documentary unveils the communal spirit and obstacles faced by Northeastern residents. By delving into personal narratives, ‘Racified’ prompts viewers to critically examine the subtle yet pervasive discrimination experienced by Northeastern women, fostering transformative conversations and advocating for greater inclusivity in metropolitan settings.

About the filmmaker

Hengam Riba is an intersectional feminist, development professional and researcher with a postgraduate degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Proficient in multiple regional languages, her expertise lies in advocating for women's rights, indigenous communities, social media advocacy, and education. She is a recipient of the Laadli Media Award and has served as a fellow with The Bachhao Project.



Direction | Hengam & Suraj

Cinematographer | Atal Pamo

Assistant Cinematographer | Kamin Patuk

Editor | Hou Hsein

Creative Consultant | Suraj Nirmale

Transcription | Mamonti Nunisa

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