Rhea Bakshi's documentary "India's Treasures" awarded at New York International Film Awards

Rhea Bakshi's documentary "India's Treasures" awarded at New York International Film Awards

It was the only film from India to be awarded with the finalist laurel.


Mumbai: A 17-year old class 12 economics student Rhea Bakshi’s first documentary “India’s Treasures” was awarded at the New York International Film Awards, in the best student film category. It was the only film from India to be awarded with the finalist laurel.

"India’s Treasures" is an intimate journey into the enchanting world of one of India’s centuries-old traditional art forms - handmade silver jewellery - adorned by the royalties across all continents. Directed and presented by Rhea Bakshi, student of The Shri Ram School, Moulsari, Gurugram; the documentary travels through the magical Rajasthan, Jharkhand and narrow lanes of old Delhi to embrace artisans’ lives and showcase their pride, fears, sacrifice and passion while creating and preserving India’s distinct identity.

On the finalist Laurel awarded by New York International Film Awards Rhea Bakshi said, “India’s Treasures highlights the irreplaceable value of Indian craftsmanship and the need to celebrate it on a global scale, and moreover its significance for India’s cultural, societal and economic growth. I am overjoyed and grateful to the New York International Film Awards jury for this distinguished honour. This will trigger a wider audience for the documentary and viewers will witness the impact and contribution of the talented self-employed Indian artists, especially women.”

“The focal point for this film was inspired from Prime Minister's Narendra Modi’s mission of inclusive economic growth, which I believe is critical to realise the vision of making India the world's third-largest economy. For the last four years, I have been engaged with Nai Disha, a NGO providing education for under-privileged children, which sensitised me to the aspiration and challenges of the vulnerable sections of our society. I would like to share this award with all my students at Nai Disha who have immensely enriched my perspective and imminent career path,” Rhea added.

The handicraft sector in India plays a vital role in driving the country’s economy, employing over seven million artisans and impacting the livelihoods of over 200 million people. The documentary emphasizes the need to celebrate these artisans and preserve their unique skills - the true treasures of India's heritage - underscoring the power of sustainable development where everyone can contribute and earn with fair and equal access to resources and opportunities. It would further increase artists’ awareness about the PM Modi’s Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman Yojana, which can boost their livelihood through small loans and financial incentives, access to technology and institutional support.

The director and creator Rhea Bakshi, an ardent admirer of the traditional handmade silver jewellery, documents the diverse jewellery-making styles, unique to varied Indian geographies, including Orissa’s fine filigree work, Jaipur’s art of enamelling and the setting of semi-precious stones in Old Delhi. It introduces inspiring stories of inclusive economic growth, a mission close to Rhea’s mission. It also showcases how the sector is empowering disadvantaged women facing cultural and economic barriers through skill-building, offering them a path to a better future, transforming their lives, enabling them to financially contribute to their families well-being. Viewers will discover the duality of globalisation, mass-manufacturing and e-commerce platforms on this noble art form and the promise it holds for the next generation.

A class 12 economics student; in her first documentary Rhea also discusses microcredit facility as an amazing solution, and how artisans can leverage small bank loans to re-establish their lives. It delves into the artisans’ predicament with e-commerce, viewed as the future. The film concludes with the artisans’ deep desire to continue their age-held craft and their expectation of a secure future for their children.