Lakshmi and Me explores India’s modern caste system

Tonight, PBS’ Independent Lens debuts a documentary that follows the life of a 20-year-old maid in Mumbai, India, who works 10-hour days every day for monthly pay that’s roughly $120. She’s filmed by one of her employers, documentary filmmaker Nishtha Jain, whose film Lakshmi and Me illustrates their differences and similarities.

PBS’ Independent Lens calls it “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.”

In that system, professional women have women from lower classes to do household chores and other work, and for that, as PBS notes, Lakshmi receives “the paltry monthly pay of 600 rupees or so from each home (the filmmaker confides that is what she herself would pay for a fancy dinner out).”

Here’s the trailer:

Lakshmi and Me [PBS]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.