The Heroes of Our Times: Corona, Amphan and Women

In 2020, Kolkata and the state of West Bengal faced a double jeopardy. On one hand the Covid pandemic and a nation-wide lock down caused widespread unemployment and hunger. On the other, Amphan, the worst recorded cyclone in over 200 years hit the city and parts of the state. But through it all, the women fought on. The new crisis only added to the never relenting problem of gender inequality and patriarchal injustice. This film is a tribute to these women, the true heroes of our times, in fact of all times.

A Preview. Watch this space for the full film. 

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It’s devastating. And for me anyway a kind of rejoinder to all the positive images stuff which means poverty is held at bay through a fake ‘respect’. But the women are indomitable, even when they don’t have hope intellectually, they just keep going. 

Professor Caroline Bassett, Director, Cambridge Digital Humanities, University of Cambridge

This film provides one of the most powerful and moving accounts of how poor rural women have faced the challenges that the Covid pandemic has thrown up, including loss of livelihoods and on-going economic pressures. In facing the lockdown, each woman offered a vignette of struggle, strength and survival. Covid 19, or the corona virus, has damaged the health, economic and social fabric of much of the developing world, hitting the poorest hardest. It has also underlined how interconnected we all are: rich and poor, North and South. Sadly the global response so far has shown that we have a long way to go in terms of recognising these connections, and building a more socially just world for the future.


Professor Khalid Nadvi, International Development, and Managing Director, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK.

Through the poignant narratives of rural women whose voices are seldom, if ever, represented in the media, the film presents both a moving and informative portrait of these women’s resilience and courage amidst precarious lives at the mercy of the state and environmental change. Placing individual stories of pain, hope, loss and determination within the wider natural landscape, government policies and web of human relationships, this visually arresting film provides a rare, sharp insight into rural women’s relentless struggle for survival and livelihood, immeasurably intensified by the sudden and catastrophic pandemic lockdown and the worst of many recent devastating cyclones - Amphan.

Professor Nandini Gooptu, Fellow of St. Antony’s College and Professor, Department of International Development, University of Oxford

This exquisitely shot film shows us the impact of Covid-19 on rural women in West Bengal, giving us a view into their everyday working and family lives. The women’s own words are at the heart of the film, explaining how they have coped with the many ways covid, storms and lockdown have impacted on their lives and incomes. It’s not a narrative of victimhood, but of extra-ordinary resilience in the face of a global pandemic and natural disaster over which they have no control.

Professor Bridget Byrne,  Sociology, University of Manchester 

The Heroes of Our Times is a landmark documentary that details the devastation caused by Corona and the Amphan Cyclone on the lives of women in Bengal. Through its extremely powerful storytelling we get to learn about the pathetic conditions these women are encountering each day, in various parts of the state. Yet, there is poetry in the visual narrative that makes this aesthetically produced film pleasing to watch and not a morbid demonstration of the crisis. And then the smart scripting delivers the subtle pathos that never fails to moisten the viewers' eyes. It is a significant film that reminds us about the unfair distribution of wealth and the most marginalized and traumatized being the women who seem to be fighting a relentless battle at home and in the world. Kudos to Chakravarty for delivering a sincere and hardworking piece of cinematic excellence.

Kaushik Roy, President Branding & Communication Reliance Industries Ltd


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