/ Modified jan 25, 2011 6:53 a.m.

Lakshmi and Me

In this examination of the relationship between Indian filmmaker Nishtha Jain and her young maid, Lakshmi, Jain explores her culture and the pervasive caste system that still determines an individual’s fate in life. Saturday at 10:30 pm on PBS World.

The film is an intimate yet critical look at the bond between an employer and domestic worker in modern-day India, where one’s status, relationships and livelihood are often still ordained by the ancient caste system.

The story is about lines blurring and lives impacting one another, despite the rigidity of archaic traditions meant to keep them apart. The filmmaker enters her subject’s world, only to question the authenticity of her own attitudes; the film’s subject is empowered by the light shone on her in the filmmaking process. At the end of their remarkable year-and-a-half-long journey together, both women are forced to question that which they’ve taken for granted, while acknowledging the symbiotic roles of mistress and maid, subject and filmmaker, speaker and listener.

Independent Lens website

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