Directed by Samarth Mahajan
Hindi/English. 2017. 60 minutes
followed by an interaction with the filmmakers.
The Unreserved is an inquiry into the lives of passengers who use the Unreserved Compartment, the cheapest way to travel across India on the Indian Railways system. The film portrays the passengers’ aspirations, efforts and opinions through conversations and personal stories.
According to conservative estimates, 65% of Indian Railways’ commuters travel unreserved. This translates to 5.5 Billion yearly travelers. This compartment, in fact, represents most of India.
People from different social backgrounds, castes, religions but on a similar economic plateau travel using this class. My curiosity to know about these passengers’ lives, and lack of any prior
documentation around it, led me to undertake “The Unreserved”. The documentary film is about conversations and personal stories of the passengers. It was shot in vérité style, and carries meta
references because of the cramped space and spontaneous nature of encounters. The film was possible because the travelers of this class are accommodating and do not hesitate in talking about their own condition.