Food and Education

A morsel of love: The making of Akshaya Patra’s new film


This article has been written by one of the crew members who shot the new film for us.

Akshaya Patra. I wasn’t unfamiliar with this organisation or the work it did. But I was completely unprepared for the extreme professionalism, hospitality and diligence I saw that day. Our film was to be shot at the Akshaya Patra kitchens, recording the lives and work of the employees there. So with minimum disruption to their everyday routine, we set to work.

7 a.m.

Our crew started prepping for the shoot. The rich aromas of freshly cooked meals wafted up to our location. A huge cauldron of piping hot kesari bath was brought up to be shot. A team of Akshaya Patra employees were on standby, ready to help us with anything we needed.

8 a.m.

As the first batch of employees got off duty (we were surprised to learn that they came in at 3 a.m.), we got on with our work. The women we shot were shy, sweet-natured and sensitive to the plight of the children they were serving. They were all eager to help in their own little ways.

10 a.m.

The shoot was progressing well, and so was the regular day at Akshaya Patra. Despite the lights, camera and other equipment, the employees went about their duties, unperturbed, undisturbed. Huge trays of vegetables were brought in and the women staff went about chopping them up for the next day’s meal.

12 p.m.

After our first two shots, we decided to shift location. We had to go shoot at a school where Akshaya Patra served meals. After the calm, serene environment of the kitchens, the school was buzzing with high energy! Children were excitedly preparing for the upcoming Independence Day parade. And as it drew closer to the lunch hour, they seemed to get more and more restless.

1 p.m.

The bell went off for the lunch break, and the children thronged towards the lunch area. Despite being hungry, they queued up and waited their turn.

3 p.m.

Our star, who we chose to feature in the film was a natural. Her vivacious nature lit up every scene, and it was a sheer joy to see her eat with such relish. She chatted happily about her friends, how she loved coming to school, and most importantly, how much she loved the lunch she got at school. When the bell rang to mark the end of the day, she waved goodbye and ran over to her grandmother, already chattering away about her filmy experiences.

4 p.m.

We went back to Akshaya Patra and had a late lunch (Oh! Those puris!) before resuming work.

6 p.m.

As we approached the end of the day, a tired hush fell over the kitchens. The food cookers heaved a huge sigh of steam as they were switched off for the day. The staff had made all their preparations for the next day’s meal and was leaving. Even we were ready to wrap up.

7 p.m.

We took our last shot, thanked the women for their cooperation and packed up for the day. Each one of us was truly inspired by the good work done in those kitchens.

As we drove back, we were deep in thought – thinking of all the stories we heard that day. Without a doubt, there was a lot of love that went into making every meal at Akshaya Patra. I wish them all the best and hope this film gets them the support they need.

To watch the video, click here.

The author arjun

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