Films & Theatre
Ek Packet Umeed
Ek Packet Umeed is the story of a family of women, who are related to each other not by blood, but by heart. They are brought together by circumstances, united by their spirit of living with dignity and turned into a family of grandmothers, mother, aunts and sisters by their love for each other. Ambika Dharamraj came to live at an old, crumbling building called Umeed Bhavan as a widow with a three year old daughter Sujata, cash amount of Rs.150 and a dream in her eyes: to live with her head held high. She started earning a living for herself by rolling papads. The initial years were a struggle to survive, but over a period of time, like minded women like Sundari and Paroma, Baku and Shaku, Maggie and Kanchan joined her. They were all from different backgrounds and had different compulsions, but sought the same warmth and security of a family. They became each other's friends, confidantes and pillars of support. Together they built a home for women who had nowhere to go and created their own small paradise. Umeed Bhavan is now a home to all these and many more women, where they live, laugh and work together, manufacturing packaged foods like papads and khakhras, sweets and savouries, jams and juices. Umeed markets its products in a competitive market and is proud of its home like quality. It offers a livelihood; it also offers a happy life. Women share their joys and sorrows, help each other in times of crisis and nurture the bonds that make them a unique matriarchal family. Their problems are similar to those faced by millions of women across the country. There are wives battered by their husbands, old mothers thrown out of home by heartless children, disabled daughters shunned by their families. What sets them apart is the feisty spirit with which they overcome all obstacles. Elders are loved and orphans are cared for in this family, but most of all, it is the young women who learn their lessons of life here - to distinguish between right and wrong, to share and to sacrifice and to stand up for each other in good and bad times. Loved and revered by all, Ambika is the mother of this family, though her only blood relation is her daughter Sujata. The mother and daughter share a deep rooted bond, but a turbulent relationship. Both have an identical, indomitable spirit and a basic urge to lead a free-willed life, but their generation gap makes them perceive situations from different angles. This is also the story of a naive girl turning into a woman of substance as she gradually imbibes the right values of life through her mother. As all regular families do, women at Umeed Bhavan also face their daily grind for existence. They work and tease and plot and bicker, they celebrate festivals and enjoy holidays, they worry about trivial matters and face gravest calamities with ease, they seek emotional dependability and financial independence; and in the very process of living, they sell food articles of small value, but offer a package of hope to all lives they touch!
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