Login to Film DIVISION of india

Lost your password?

The Unreserved


The Unreserved

60 Mins 12 Sec./Digital/Col/Hindi/English



The Unreserved is an inquiry into the lives of passengers who use the Unreserved Compartment, the cheapest way to travel across India on the Indian Railways system. The film portrays the passengers’ aspirations, efforts and opinions through conversations and personal stories.


Director           :           Samarth Mahajan

Producer         :           Ashay Gangwar and Harshit Saran


Director’s note:

I have a special relationship with rail travel. It was the preferred way of commuting when flights were out of bounds for middle-income Indians. It was a gateway to many wondrous places I visited as a child. A few years later, on a train designed to bring together young Indians to discuss social entrepreneurship, I realized I was more interested to unravel people stories than stifle in an office cubicle away from the hustle bustle of life.

I had never explored the Unreserved Compartment on a prolonged route, in spite of it being the cheapest way to travel on the Indian Railways, because I always wanted to travel safely and comfortably. A commute in this class is a fight for survival. There are no sleeping berths, so one has to sleep sitting up for sometimes up to 2-3 nights. It is designed to accommodate up to 90 people but on a busy route carries around 300. It requires minimal thought to realize no one travels unreserved out of choice.

Yet, according to conservative estimates, 65% of Indian Railways’ commuters travel unreserved. This translates to 5.5 Billion yearly travelers. This compartment, in fact, represents most of India. People from different social backgrounds, castes, religions but on a similar economic plateau travel using this class. My curiosity to know about these passengers’ lives, and lack of any prior documentation around it, led me to undertake “The Unreserved”.

The documentary film is about conversations and personal stories of the passengers. It was shot in vérité style, and carries meta references because of the cramped space and spontaneous nature of encounters. The discussions revolve around aspirations, efforts and issues which plague our daily lives. The film was possible because the travelers of this class are accommodating and do not hesitate in talking about their own condition.


Trailer link: http://bit.ly/TheUnreservedTrailer


The screening will be followed by a Q & A session with the Director.


Date & time
Friday, 23rd June, 2017, 6.30 pm


RR II Theatre, 6th floor, phase 2 Building,
Films Division of India, Peddar Road


Screenings at FD Zone are free and open to all.

First come, first seated