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STORY

STORY

Rooting for Roona is a documentary that fights for the health of the Indian child and captures the incredible story of baby Roona Begum.   Tucked away in a neglected corner of the North East of India, Roona suffered from Hydrocephalus, a birth defect caused by build-up of fluid in the brain leading to massive swelling of the head. Her parents Abdul and Fatema, who lead a hand-to-mouth existence, struggled to cope and understand what ailed their daughter. Their trips to state level government hospitals were in vain because these hospitals were poorly equipped to treat her. With no means to travel beyond their home state of Tripura, Abdul and Fatema were resigned to their daughter’s tragic fate.

“I didn't think of her as a sick child.”
I always thought she was really strong
to endure so much pain.

ABDUL
ROONA'S FATHER

Rooting for Roona is a documentary that fights for the health of the Indian child and captures the incredible story of baby Roona Begum.   Tucked away in a neglected corner of the North East of India, Roona suffered from Hydrocephalus, a birth defect caused by build-up of fluid in the brain leading to massive swelling of the head. Her parents Abdul and Fatema, who lead a hand-to-mouth existence, struggled to cope and understand what ailed their daughter. Their trips to state level government hospitals were in vain because these hospitals were poorly equipped to treat her. With no means to travel beyond their home state of Tripura, Abdul and Fatema were resigned to their daughter’s tragic fate.

“I didn't think of her as a sick child.”
I always thought she was really strong to endure so much pain.

ABDUL
ROONA'S FATHER

Her fate changed when a photo-journalist in Roona’s hometown took a photo of her. Overnight, this powerful photograph went viral globally. It triggered an amazing chain of events that eventually resulted in Roona being admitted to one of India’s premier private hospitals in the nation’s capital New Delhi. Headlines across the world celebrated her journey to, hopefully, a more healthy life. Then the media frenzy settled down and the world moved on.   Thousands of children like Roona are born with congenital anomalies every day but are ignored because their stories are not deemed ‘sensational’ enough. Roona’s severe condition was a result of an underdeveloped healthcare system, general lack of awareness about preventative healthcare and inadequate basic knowledge about nutritional/hygiene needs. Roona had received a second chance at life, while others like her are sent home to wither in silence.   In spite of the care and intervention she received, our brave and beloved Baby Roona lost her battle for a healthy life on Sunday, 18th June 2017. She developed unexpected breathing issues and passed away at home just a month before she was scheduled to have the final surgery that might have enabled her to walk. She will always remain a symbol of hope. Now more than ever we stand strong, as this film gives voice to the fight for the health of the Indian child. Rooting for Roona is a story of struggle, survival and hope that urges audiences to invest in the most important part of our world – the Child.

HHer fate changed when a photo-journalist in Roona’s hometown took a photo of her. Overnight, this powerful photograph went viral globally. It triggered an amazing chain of events that eventually resulted in Roona being admitted to one of India’s premier private hospitals in the nation’s capital New Delhi. Headlines across the world celebrated her journey to, hopefully, a more healthy life. Then the media frenzy settled down and the world moved on.   Thousands of children like Roona are born with congenital anomalies every day but are ignored because their stories are not deemed ‘sensational’ enough. Roona’s severe condition was a result of an underdeveloped healthcare system, general lack of awareness about preventative healthcare and inadequate basic knowledge about nutritional/hygiene needs. Roona had received a second chance at life, while others like her are sent home to wither in silence.   In spite of the care and intervention she received, our brave and beloved Baby Roona lost her battle for a healthy life on Sunday, 18th June 2017. She developed unexpected breathing issues and passed away at home just a month before she was scheduled to have the final surgery that might have enabled her to walk. She will always remain a symbol of hope. Now more than ever we stand strong, as this film gives voice to the fight for the health of the Indian child. Rooting for Roona is a story of struggle, survival and hope that urges audiences to invest in the most important part of our world – the Child.

CAUSE

THE REALITY

27 million children are born in India every year of which 1.5 million are born with birth defects. India accounts for the largest share of birth defects in the world. According to the March of Dimes report, 70% of birth defects can be prevented or mitigated. Both statistics and reality point to a system that is in dire need of reform.

THE VISION

- We will create a film that focuses on the health of the Indian child by bringing birth defects to the forefront and helps make it a priority amongst everyone from the general public to the policymakers at the highest level.   - We will create public awareness and interest around the issue of congenital healthcare and launch an outreach movement.   - We will build a platform where global citizens can connect with specific organisations who are working in the space of child healthcare and birth defects to donate, volunteer and advocate.

MEET THE TEAM

CurleyStreet Media, the team behind the Rooting for Roona film is India’s first social justice film production house that has created award-winning documentaries on a range of socially relevant topics. Based out of Bangalore, India, the team comprises a group of young, dynamic and passionate individuals forged by a common dream of changing the world one frame at a time.

SEE OUR PAST WORK

ROOTERS FOR ROONA

We are grateful to the people who have supported us in the making of this film. Thank you for Rooting for Roona!

Aanya Sharan

Abdul Hassan

Abdul Raouf

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Saraf

Abhishek Singh

Adam Duhachek

Aditya Appaya

Aditya Shivkumar

Adwait Gore

Aishwarya Bhaskar

Aishwarya Krishnakumar

Ajay Raghavan

Ajay Salanky

Ajay Shenoy

Ajeeth & Mamta Cheppudira

Ajit Pothen

Ajit Saria PK

AJ Sumithra & Santhosh PG

Akshara Menon

Akshara Raghavendra

Akshaya Chinapa Reddy

Alan Boswell

Alka Vaswani

Amena & Drew Mena

Amit Dev

Amit Kohli

Amit Popat

Amrita Ramkumar

Anand Fernandes

Anala Prabhu & Akshay Baadkar

Andre Sumy

Andrew Blake

Aneesha Bangera & Ashwin Sivaramakrishnan

Anil Jain

Anita Ramkumar

Anitha Majji

Anjali Balagopal

Anjana C Ferns

Ankit Chandra

Ankit Sheth

Ankur Dhingra & Neha Dev

Anshumani Ruddra

Antara Sara

Antony George

Anup Annaya

Anuradha Chandrashekhar

Anuradha Srinivasan

Anusha Mahalingam

Aparna Das Sadhukhan

Aparna Jandhyala

Aparna Kurian & Shoumitro Goswami

Apollo, Aurum & Viveck Rao

Arati, Mohit & Abhinav Gupta

Archana Handa

Arjun Raman

Arjun V. Maroli

Arshad Kunnummal

Aruna Nath & Alpana Thambuchetty

Arun Nair

Arun Venkatachalam

Arvind Jujare

Arya & Shailesh Etekar

Ashish Mahendra

Ashish & Shuchi Mehta

Ashish Mishra

Ashwina Chandrasekhar

Ashwin Balasubramanian

Ashwin R

Asit Verma

Athena Bangara

Atul Chandra

Avkash Upendra

Badri Vishal

Bernadette Jendrusch

Bhagirath Iyer

Bhamini Bopanna

Bharati Balakrishnan

Bhavya Srinivasan

Bono Bobby Jackson

Briand Prasad

Brian Engelbert

Brian Greeff

Bumpy Singh-Shankar

Brookefields, Coimbatore

Caitlin Behrman

Carol D'Souza

Celine Modschiedler

Chandini Chhabra

Charles Miranda

Charmaine D'Souza

Cheryl Pipia

Chitra Raghavan

Chris Kennedy

Claire

Colt Emswiler

Courtney & Alan Dudley

Courtney Rainwater

Damodar Kanuri

Daniel Boockvar

Darius Taraporvala

Darren Boswell

David Leong

David Wong

Debbie Linehan

Deb Taft

Deepak Joseph

Deepthi Bopaiah

Deepti Ganapathy

Dennis Price

Devi P

Dev Pathi

Dhanya & Rohan Koshie

Dharma Kannan

Dia Bangera

Dilber and Silvansus Sunil

Dilip Nazareth

Dipanshu Behl

Dipti Ravichandran

Divya and Dhanush Arjun

Divya Kannan

Duncan Woodall

Dr. Padmini B

Dr. Upendra

Ed (Mahesh Naidu)

Edgar Fernandes

Ekam Ahluwalia

Elvin Lonan

Emanuel AG

Emily Nicholas

Erin Schenk

Eugene Chausovsky

Eugene D'Souza & Anastacia Totoeva

Faraz Khan

Fareen Azeez

Farha Adeni

Frank Raj

Gargi Chaudhuri

Gaurav Sadana

Gaurav & Minka Sikka

Gautam Golchha

Gautam Kothiyal

Gemlyn & Anj George

Gina Longo

Grant Garrison

Greg Behrman

Gunaseela Pandiyan

Hakim Abdullah

Hakimulla Habibullah

Hariprasad Gajapathy

Harishri Babuji

Harsh Sheth

Helen Williams

Helle Borchgrevink

Ishani Appaya

Ishan Maini

Jackie Billings

James and Shannon Haddaway

Javeria Kiran & Siddharth Chopra

Jaya Bhaskar

Jayaram Rajaram

Jay Kumar

Jeffrin Anthony

Jennie Gilchrist

Jessica Worchel

Jillian and Aditya Sen

Jimmy Xavier

Jinu Joseph

Jorge Reverter Garcia

Judy McClelland

Julian Chou-Lambert

Julia Radvinsky

Julita

Jyothis George

Kalyani Anish

Kanika Goela

Kanika Kohli

Kanika Pandey

Karen Moreira

Karthik & Yamini Mouli

Karthik Raman

Karthik Vishwanath

Kartik Agarwal

Kartik Shivkumar

Karuna & Deepak Rao

Karunakara Kudupu

Kathy Stokes

Kavita Ramdas

Kavita Ramesh

Kavitha Babu

Ketan C. Reddy

Kim Surko & Victoria Anderson

Kimberlee Salmond

Kim Hangzo

Kim Noble

Kiran Chandra

Kiran Mascarenhas

Kirti & Arvind Thimaya

Krithika Kariappa

Kruti Bharucha

Kshitiz Manav

Kumudini Rajaram

Kunal Moktan

Kunal Sharma

Kunal Singal

Kushagra Pant

L.P. Reddy

Lacey Perkins

Lakshmi Nagappan

Lakshmi Narayanan P

Lanny Lancarte

Larsen George

Laura Disque

Lavanya Ashok

Leela & Hari Purugulla

Lisa Adam

Lisa G. Kohn

Liz P.

Lolly & Ramu Ramdas

Lopa Sarkar

Lydia Francis

Lyla Thomas

Mahesh Muraleedharan

Madhav Aney

Madhuri Iyer

Madhu Shukla

Mahita Geekie

Mahrukh Nazir

Malavika Siddharth

Mallika Ramdas

Malka Shiv

Mamatha Sudhakar

Manav & Pooja Thusu

Manisha Vinod

Manish C. Pole

Manish Kapoor

Manish Mohan

Manjunath Dudyala

Manju Paul

Manoj Menon

Mansur Nazimuddin

Maria Fuentes

Mariannesj

Maria Redin

Marien & Suresh Oommen

Mario Antony Jayaprabhu

Matthew Rainwater

Mayura Balasubramanium

Meaghan Ritchey

Meenakshi Arun

Meenakshi Ramesh

Megha Kaushik

Meghna Jacob

Meghana Kishore

Melissa Bonne

Mel McGinley

Michael Colquhoun

Michael Pereira

Michele Torzilli

Michelle B.

Michelle Vernone

Milan Dalwani

Milan Vohra

Minal Karumbaya

Mithun Beerala

Mohana M Shivashankar

Mohan Channa

Mohan Reddy

Mohit Cheppudira

Mona Lipson

Monish Akbar

Monish Thomas

Monu Agrwala

Mrinal Vasu

Murali Angirekula

Murtuza Lokhandwala

Muthu Murugappan & Solachi Ramanathan

Myrta

Nalini Ravishankar

Nancy Howard

Nancy Vaddi

Nanda Chalam

Nandakumar E S

Naomi Brill

Naomi Goldsmith

Narasimha Pai

Natasha Pai

Nathaniel Zilkha

Neenu Jacob

Neeraj Mehra

Nicha Suebwonglee

Nichola D. Marshall

Nicola Bingham

Nidhi Prakash

Nihas Basheer

Nilesh Shahapurkar

Ninan

Niranj Thusu

Niranju and Giridhar Sivasankar

Nisha Ajit

Nisha Chalam

Nishad Majumdar

Nishant Bhatia

Nishant Lakshman

Nishant Thomas

Nishitha Reddy

Nitin Bam

Nitin Mathur

Nitya Rao

Nitya & Yatinder Singh

Nivriti Lal

Nivedita Nivargi

Nupur Singh

Padma Sridhar

Pamela Brunger

Pankaj Prasad

Parvathi Menon

Pashupathy Gopalan

Paul F. Capetillo

Pavithra K. Raja

Peter Sloan

Pet Stepin

Pooja Reddy

Pooja Shankar & Rohit Thimaiah

Prabhu Subramanian

Pradeep Kamath

Prajakt Raut

Pramod Shantharam

Prasenjit Das

Prashanth Sharma

Prashant Kelker

Prasun Chaudhuri

Pratibha Koneru

Preetha Chandrasekharan

Preeti John

Pritha Agarwal

Priti Sen & Dhiraj Arora

Priyadarshi Rishiraj

Priyanka Chakrabarty

Priyanka Singh

Priyank Porwal

Purab Kohli

Purna Bikkasani

Rachel

Rachel Rajan

Raghu Maligal Ganesh

Rahul Batra

Rahul D. Bangera

Rahul Kudva

Rahul Papali

Rajarshee Dutta

Rajarshi Guha

Rajeev Ravindranathan

Rajesh K V

Rajesh & Vasumathy Mehar

Rajsekhar Mukkamala

Ram Swaminathan

Ramya Shankar

Ranakumar Nadella

Ranjana Thomas

Ranjeet Ramakrishnan

Rashmi Marwah

Rashmi Somaji

Rasika Iyer

Ravi Pagaria

Reba Thomas

Rebecca & Philip Thomas

Rehan Habeeb

Rehan Syed

Remya Jayaram

Renee Costama

Reshma Rahi

Reva Chitnis

Ria Joseph

Rishi Sridhar

Rima Aranha

Ritesh Purohit

Ritu Mirakhur

Rohan Abraham

Rohan D'Souza

Rohan Mathias

Rohit B.

Rohith Murthy

Rohit Marwaha

Rohit Paul

Rohit Rajkumar

Romil Gupta

Ronita Shambaya

Ronald Read

Roohshad Garda

Roopa Pious & Nishant Verghese

Roshan Warrier

Ruchi Dhingra

Rukmini Singh

Rupayan Chatterjee

Ruwanee & Rohan Dutt

Ryan Noronha

Saabira Chaudhari

Sabi Gurung

Sabita Nadesan

Sachin D'Souza

Sakhi G.

Samantha Lazaro

Sameer Akbar

Samrendra Sarin

Samyukta Lakshmi

Sanchit Mullick

Sandeep & Goldie Bothireddy

Sandeep Atmaram & Ridhima Coelho

Sandeep Dhaliwal

Sandra Michieles

Sanjay Pamurthy

Sara Griffin

Sarah Gormley

Satvik Srivastava

Satyaki Banerjee

Satyendra Thakur

Savita R Pai

Sayan Chaudhuri

Saurabh Adeeb

Scott Whitworth

Seema Seth

Seema Sukumar

Shaan Libby

Shalabh Gupta

Shamitha Sudheer

Sharath Chandra

Sharmilee Thota

Sherry & Roshen Balachandran

Shashidhar Rao

Shihas Abdulla

Shikha Balakrishnan & Varun Basu

Shilpa Shastri

Shiva Dixit

Shivani S Lopes

Shivani Smith

Shivram Aiyyagiri

Shravanthi Gummadi

Shreelakshmi Adarsh

Shruthi Bopaiah

Shruthi Harikrishna

Shruti George

Shunil Ohrie

Shweta Subbiah

Shyamkumar Iyer

Sibin Mohan

Sibi Venkataraju

Siddarth Abraham

Siddhartha Agarwal

Siddharth Murlidharan

Siddharth Kumar

Siddharth Thomas

Simon Glasgow

Simrin Sandhu

Smriti Achutan

Sojan Alby Verghese

Somanna

Soni Mahtani

Sophie McKane

Sreekanth Bhattiprolu

Sridhar Anand

Srikanth Chandrasekhar

Steven Wong

Subhashini & Suraj Chalam

Subhash Koppula

Sujata Raman & Raman Sethuraman

Sujata Vaswani

Sujatha Premkumar

Sujit Pavithran

Sukanya Sen

Suma Boby

Suman Nag

Sunil J. Mathew

Sunitha Suresh Babu

Surabhi Narendranath

Suraj Omprakash

Susan Alexander

Susan Wiesehan

Suzanne H.

Swapnil Landge

Swaraj Barooah

Swathee Sankar

Syed Basheer Ahmed Malik

Syed Sultan Ahmed

Tanarra Schneider

Tanay Tayal

Teena Aiyana

Thahirunisa Tajudeen

Thangamma Monnappa

Theodore Lundberg

Thomas Schillaci

Tina Sekharan

Tirthankar Dash

Toni & Tommy Boswell

Trupti Chengalath

Tushna & Shankar Narayan

Uday Shops

Utham Reddy

Vaibhav Mahajan

Vaishnavi Tekumalla

Vandana Makkencherry

Varatharajan Venkatraman

Veeru Murugappan

Venkat Subramanian

Venugopal Vudathala

Venugopala Reddy

Veronica & Jeremy Otter

Vijay & Jayshree Shankar

Vijay & Rita Thussu

Vijay Das

Vikram Anand

Vikram Balakrishna

Vikram Bhaskaran

Vikram Fernandes

Vinamra Santosh

Vinita Singh

Vishal Asrani

Vishal Lunker

Vivek & Anita Chandrasekhar

Yagnika Vemulkar

Yakuta Khumri

Yashika Muthanna

Yasmin Fodil

Zeenat Iqbal

Zerobot

COLLABORATORS

COLLABORATORS

THE JOURNEY

  1. Tripura

    Baby Roona is born in Jirania Khola, a tiny village in Tripura.

  2. Delhi

    CurleyStreet Media comes across Roona's story in an AFP report. Touched by the sheer resilience of Baby Roona and her young parents, we strive to bring this story of hope before the eyes of the world. Within 24 hours the team is by her side.

  3. New Delhi

    Roona undergoes her first round of major surgeries. The first steps towards recovery are successful, as the little trouper comes out stronger, healthier and smiling like the angel that she is.

  4. New Delhi

    Team CurleyStreet resolves to get to the heart of the issue and begins to engage with doctors and medical experts from private and government hospitals in Delhi, healthcare camps, clinics and NGOs that work in the healthcare sector.

  5. Bangalore

    Team CurleyStreet launches a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo so that people the world over can participate in the making of this film and become part of the force that brings change where it is needed the most. By the end of the campaign we raise around 32000 USD, becoming India’s largest crowdfunding campaign for a non-fiction film. Just before Eid, Baby Roona is finally released from the hospital in Delhi as the team accompanies a much improved Roona and relieved parents back to Tripura, for a tearful yet joyous homecoming.

  6. Chamrajnagar, Karnataka

    We travel to Chamarajanagar in Karnataka in October 2013 to document the healthcare facilities provided in remote rural areas and the role of technology in improving these facilities.

  7. Gudalur, Tamil Nadu

    Team CurleyStreet travels to Tamil Nadu to document the role of community in implementing better healthcare management among tribal populations in Gudalur.

  8. Mumbai

    The film’s directors Pavitra Chalam and Akshay Shankar present Rooting for Roona'  at GoodPitch India, 2014 in Mumbai. GoodPitch is a documentary-pitching forum which is a project of The BRITDOC Foundation in partnership with The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, supported by the Ford Foundation. Their aim is to connect what they consider the world's best social justice films with new allies and partners. RFR was one among only 6 films selected for the prestigious event.

  9. Near Agartala, Tripura

    CurleyStreet Media travels back to Tripura to witness a much healthier and happier Roona. We spent three weeks among the sands and trees of Tripura which helped us in understanding the healthcare facilities better in the area.

  10. Trivandrum, Kerala

    CurleyStreet crew travels to Trivandrum to cover the amazing work done by Pallium India, an organization that specializes in palliative care. Pallium works with children and adults with life-limiting and disabling diseases in order to improve quality of life, treat pain and provide emotional, social and spiritual support.

  11. Amsterdam, Netherlands

    CurleyStreet travels to Amsterdam to represent Rooting for Roona at the BritDoc Global Impact Producer’s Assembly. The Assembly was a platform for Impact Producers from the world over to formally network and connect as a professional community.

  12. Tripura

    The CurleyStreet team visits Roona and her family once again, to check up on her progress and to document other cases of children with congenital disorders, around the region. This visit is all the more special, because Fatema and Abdul have been blessed with a healthy baby boy - Akhtar Hussain! We meet a smiling Roona who is stronger and ready for her final surgery, which will take place in Delhi when Fatema recovers from her delivery.

  13. Jirania Khola

    Roona Begum (2011 - 2017) : At 8.10 PM on Sunday (18th June 2017), our beloved Roona developed unexpected breathing issues and passed away at home. A month ago, when we had taken Roona to Delhi for a medical assessment, her doctor scheduled her final surgery for mid-July. He was thrilled with her progress and very optimistic about her future. She will always remain a symbol of hope. Rooting for Roona is and will be a story about the bravest little girl whose will to live defied all odds. We were fortunate to be with her, her family and her entire community as the last rites were performed at sunset and she was laid to rest in Jirania, surrounded by beauty and stillness.

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