Trolley Times review: Scalding criticism of the establishment and authentic representation of farmers

Karishma Jangid
New Update
Trolley Times

The documentary 'Trolley Times' directed by Gurvinder Singh was featured at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023. It documents the farmers' protests that happened in India in 2020 and 2021.

In an environment where art containing anti-establishment and religious commentary is routinely coming under attack, it takes a lot of courage to make a documentary like 'Trolley Times'. Trolley Times by Gurvinder Singh documents the farmers' protest, but it is more than just that. It is a larger attempt to question the role of the government and where we are heading as a country.

The documentary is divided into four parts. Part 1: Trolley Times gives an overview of the three controversial farm laws that the BJP-led government introduced. It takes you through the largely unseen side of the protest. Temporary shelters made inside trucks, old farmers sleeping on roads in the cold, women giving speeches and feeding protestors, and most importantly, the newspaper Trolley Times that countered false propaganda that a part of the national media was spreading. Part 2: Vox Populi is the most significant as well as fun part of the documentary. As per the director, he just kept the camera rolling, and old farmers who have fed the country since the Green Revolution and before were utterly honest and offered bold and meaningful criticism of the ruling party.

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The farmers asked extremely important questions. Why do farmers, the strength of this country, get poorer every passing day? Why do the people who feed a country of billions should die of suicide? Why are workers who build the highways not allowed to ride their cycles on those highways? Why do the rulers sit in palaces and not with the citizens when their very job is to serve the citizens? Why are corporate loans worth billions forgiven, but not those of farmers? This section is also very humorous. Women cooking together, old and young farmers bantering, it makes you laugh out loud. It shows not merely as protestors but also people like you and me. Part 3: The Republic documents the Republic Day parade that the farmers carried out and the risks they had to face. Part 4: A Village Awaits shows those who stayed back to take care of the farms and the families while most were away protesting. 

This documentary is effective because it doesn't preach. There are no journalists as middlemen. You are connected directly to farmers, the only people who actually understand farming and how laws affect it. The documentary is full of songs and humor. The revolutionary songs, the laughter of kids, the tune from the harmonica, everything blends to show the lives and struggles of farmers. Trolley Times is as beautiful as it is bold, and that's a rare combination.

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Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival Trolley Times