Last month, She’s the First had the distinct opportunity to premiere its FIRST EVER documentary, “Magho.” The documentary follows Maheshwari, a Shanti Bhavan senior, as she welcomes us into her home. The premiere event was held at the Centre for Social Innovation in New York City on March 21, 2013, to a standing-room-only crowd, and was followed by an extremely informative and inspiring Q&A with Christen Brandt and Kate Lord (the co-directors of the film) and Ajit George (Director of US Operations for Shanti Bhavan).
As the film started rolling, we were greeted with an exceptional and moving original score, penned for this movie by Tom Richards. Through the film, we get a great peek into what Maheshwari’s life would have been had she not attended Shanti Bhavan starting at the age of four. We were introduced to her mother, who we see is in the process of making the most delicious meal ever, according to Christen. What’s particularly interesting about this documentary is that you can see just how different Maheshwari is from her mother as a result of her education. For one, Maheshwari is telling her story in English, a language she is fluent in, while her mother speaks in Tamil (a language Maheshwari also knows, making her bilingual!). Furthermore, in one of the more humorous moments, you see that mother and daughter have very different plans for Maheshwari’s future in regards to a husband! Meanwhile, Maheshwari speaks of her dreams of going to college, becoming a Cardiologist, and choosing her own husband when she is done with her education.
The film culminates in a very poignant and moving scene, in which you see Maheshwari donning a sari, slipping bangles over her henna-covered hands, and placing a bindi on her forehead. It’s a scene akin to one you would see in a wedding video, of the bride getting ready. Yet because of all the opportunity afforded to her through Shanti Bhavan, this 18-year-old is not getting married like the rest of the girls her age in her village. Instead, we see Maheshwari proudly walking across the stage as her name is called to collect her high school diploma; making her the first in her family to graduate.
If after reading this, you’re thinking to yourself “I wish I could have seen this, Maheshwari’s story is so inspiring!”, you’re in luck! She’s the First wants to share Magho with you! You can host your own screening and share Magho with your friends and community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how you can make this happen. All the proceeds from the documentary screenings will go towards Maheshwari’s college fund. At the premiere itself, we raised over $1,000, putting Maheshwari well on her way to realizing her dreams.