The Face of the Faceless
Blessed Rani Maria often said, "We are grafted onto the Cross, and we must carry it joyfully unto death."
This feature film is based on the true life story of Blessed Rani Maria, her life and her death, and her influence on our society. The movie encapsulates the turbulent experience from 1990 to 1995 in Bhopal and Indore; it depicts how a woman worked selflessly for bringing about reforms for landless labourers in a remote Madhya Pradesh village, successfully implementing the concept of Self-Help Groups.
A true example to the world, Sr Rani Maria fought against the injustices in the community she served that were local in nature, but have a universal application. Her life story, the story of her family and their relationship with her murderer will have an impact on the whole of society.
Nature provides for need but not for greed. We are experiencing the same even today in a world clueless (raging pandemics - climate disasters - increased hatred - divisive tendencies) about the direction in which it is headed. This is the occasion when we turn towards leaders and role models who can lead us through the tunnel of darkness. Thus the depiction of the story of a leader who championed the cause of humanity.
It takes the might of a leader to be one with, and support, the downtrodden, and that too in a land completely unknown. Sr Rani Maria decided to be with the marginalised community in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), as a part of her commitment, where she realised her life mission of accomplishing sustainable living amenities, employment, education for the community that she worked with. The community proudly remembers her as "Indore Ki Rani". This tale depicts the trials and tribulations of a woman who rose above her boundaries of religion, realised the universal oneness and committed her life for women's empowerment, much before these words started getting acceptance.
The issues of upper caste feudalism, the debt trap induced by the zamindars and the eventual suicide of farmers, the bureaucratic blockade of the government bodies, all these still plague the system that we claim as democracy. Sr Rani Maria realised that the individual spirit rooted in spiritual wisdom can rise above all this, and still attempt to deliver good for the human cause of equitable development. The narrative takes its course through the time of her eventful experiences (1990 to 1994) in Bhopal and Indore, encountering life-risking incidents with powerful zamindars, where she single-handedly motivated the villagers to stand in unity with her, practising non-violence and achieved victory.
The eventual test for leaders rooted with spiritual wisdom and uncompromising allegiance to truth, unwavering faith in the championed cause, comes when they are challenged with sacrificing their lives for the same. They do it with a smile on their face and the name of the Lord in their last breath. The fate that awaited Sr Rani Maria was no different from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The family that gave birth to such an immortal soul behaved in accordance, when deciding to pardon her murderer, keeping no grudge in mind. Her sister, Sr Selmy Paul, visited Samandar Singh in jail on the Feast of Raksha Bandhan, accepted him as her brother by tying a "rakhi" on his hands, a gesture of forgiveness on behalf of the nun's family.
The film is directed by Shaison P. Ouseph, an internationally acclaimed documentary film-maker, positive change agent and the Head of Department for Film & Television at XIC in Mumbai, India. He is the co-founder of Tri Light Creations. Among the esteemed organisations that have bestowed awards on him for his work on social issues and media are the United Nations, the US Embassy, International Labour Organisation, and International Independent Film Awards.
Th film is produced by Sandra D'Souza Rana, who is the founder of 'Tulip Designs' based in Belgaum, Karnataka and co-founder of Tri Light Creations. Currently she is the Dean, Finance and Administration, at Xavier Institute of Communications. Seeking a role of increased responsibility and skilled in prioritising tasks independently, 'The Face of the Faceless' is her first feature film as producer.