Goa – A film on the everyday struggles of street dwellers, their hygiene and sanitation issues and society’s attitude towards them was screened in the non-feature section of the Indian Panorama at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Shekhar Bapu Rankhambe, director of this Marathi, non-feature film titled Rekha, said, “We close our doors to street dwellers. But why do we do this? The quest to find out the reason behind this plight of street dwellers and such neglect by the society inspired me to research this project for a year and a half. Presenting the hardships in the lives of women living on the streets, the film also focuses on the poor condition of their menstrual hygiene. He said, “While researching this topic, I was shocked to know about his reality. They can’t bathe for months.”
Rekha, the protagonist of the film, lives by the roadside. Rekha, who is suffering from a fungal infection of the skin, is advised by the doctor to take a bath and apply medicine. But her husband stops her and ill-treats her. Rekha tries to take a bath but is shocked when the women of her community give her reasons for not doing so. Knowing this, she gets confused. She decides to leave her husband so that he can take a bath to combat the infection. The film depicts his difficulties in staying clean.