Parked outside government schools in Udaipur, a huge container truck called Cinema on Wheels is silently championing change and fostering progressive thinking among students. Stepping out of this unconventional classroom, 11-year-old student Sham says, “Child marriage is bad and so is treating a girl like a subordinate.” He is delighted to have watched “movies in an air-conditioned theatre, with comfortable seats and delicious snacks, all within a truck.” Mohit, a Class 3 student is utterly amazed “Bahar se truck, andar se cinema hall! Yeh jadoo hai. (Outside it looks like a truck but inside it has a cinema hall! This is magic.)” Such is the enchantment of Project Navchetna, an initiative of RC Udaipur Elite, RID 3056, that aims to educate students about pressing social issues in their region and beyond through the power of cinema.
On a visit to Jaipur, club president Vikas Sharma came across a container truck that was transformed into a mini cinema hall, and wanted to use it to “raise awareness and educate school students, mainly in government schools, about child marriage, proper use of social media and mobile phones, good and bad touch, cybercrime and gender equity, and also provide
them with an unforgettable cinematic experience.”
He presented the idea to the club’s board which “loved it and approved it immediately.” Project coordinators were swiftly appointed, and a route map was prepared to address the logistical challenges posed by the 60-foot-long container truck. The project team identified schools located near state highways and secured permissions from school principals, who “welcomed this unique experience for their students. The shows were met with enthusiasm by the students, who also enjoyed snacks and juice during the interval. Most of these students had never had such an experience before, making this initiative all the more impactful,” says Sharma.
On all the days, 3–4 club members attended the initiative to ensure smooth running of the shows. The project cost of ₹2 lakh was covered through sponsorships from local factory owners, club members and other donors. Sharma is happy that “the Cinema on Wheels has kindled not just love for the movies but also a spark of change.”