A cry of helplessness: How the tragedy that was the migrant exodus unfolded

Vilaap, a new documentary, tells the story of how last year’s mismanaged lockdown unleashed a humanitarian disaster in India.

ByChaitra Yadavar
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The national lockdown imposed by the Indian government early last year caused untold pain and suffering, not least for migrant workers who, suddenly left without an income or a support system, were compelled to leave cities for their villages and small towns, often walking hundreds of miles on foot.

It was the largest mass migration in India since the Partition and we decided to tell the heartbreaking stories of some of the migrants to understand how government mismanagement and apathy had unleashed a humanitarian disaster atop of a public health crisis.

The more we travelled the more we were overwhelmed by the sheer helplessness of the migrants. “There is no one for us” was a common refrain.

This documentary film then is a story of how this country abandoned its poor and marginalised in a pandemic.


This film was produced with support from the Thakur Foundation.

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