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‘India Awakes’ screened in Washington

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Documentary depicts newly unleashed entrepreneurial spirits of Indians.

India Awakes

AB Wire

WASHINGTON, DC: India Awakes, a 60-minute documentary that showcases the country’s advances in entrepreneurship and economic growth in the past two decades, was screened at the Embassy of India on August 13.

The film, narrated by Swedish historian Johan Norberg, documents how people at the lower strata of the Indian society are transforming their lives through sheer perseverance and hard work.  The documentary follows three sets of people from different backgrounds, and finds that the foremost reason behind their success trajectory was economic freedom.

Norberg, Executive Producer Bob Chitester and Producer Maureen Castle discussed the film after the screening.

Speaking to The American Bazaar, Norberg said he found the rags-to-riches story of Madhusudana Rao,  a Dalit featured in the documentary, quite interesting.  “[Rao] never thought that he would have any kind of job in a modern economy…but because of his entrepreneurial ability he builds a construction company with 350 employees,” Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, said. “That shows the kind of skills, the talent, the energy that is often out there in informal sectors. That is incredibly hopeful message.”

Chitester, president and CEO of Free To Choose Network, which produced the documentary, told The Bazaar he was “very convinced that economic freedom is really at the heart of improving lives of everybody” in India.

“We have been doing programs around the world that look at question of economic freedom,” he said. “And when economic freedom is increased, what is its impact on the well being of the citizens of that particular country. And so we have been looking at various countries and seeing that impact and we thought that India is clearly a country that we need to look at for that perspective; and try to share with others what is going on.”

In the 1970s, Chitester collaborated with the late economist Milton Friedman on Free To Choose, an award-winning television series and also a best-selling book.

Producer Castle said India Awakes took about six weeks to film.

“Biggest problem was that we had to shoot most of it in summer,” she said. “It was the hottest shooting experience I have ever experienced in my life.” She added that the biggest challenge was “finding people who are willing to open up their lives, share their stories and we were very fortunate of that.”

The documentary will be aired on Maryland Public Television on October 7. The film’s broadcast schedule is available on the Free To Choose Media website.