Why Are Indian #Films Confused About #Sex, #Rape and #Prostitution?

Gregor Kern once said, “There’s nothing worse than bad films for a good cause.” I’m constantly astonished by how films made with the intention of addressing sexual and other forms of violence on women in India, are often so deeply misogynistic!


jism poster While pornographic packaging of female sexuality is blatantly used to hard sell Indian films, a woman’s libido and her consensual sex with partners of her own choosing continue to be “controversial” topics in Indian cinema.   Forced marriages are not portrayed as rape.   The marriage of rape victims to their rapists is often seen as a form of justice.  And parents who prostitute their daughters are not viewed as pimps.  In an article where she takes a critical look at how Bollywood films treat the subject of rape, consensual sex and prostitution,  Rita Banerji argues that the reason Indian films fail to address these issues in a meaningful way is because the film makers, like the rest of Indian society,  have failed to affirm a woman’s right and choice over her own body and sexuality.  

Below is are two excerpts from this article.  To read the full…

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What Do Indian Girls Learn/ Unlearn from their Mothers?

There’s a lot of search going on in the global feminist movement for “female role models” for girls.

But in context of psychological growth, the fact is, that no prototype, however strong or famous, can overshadow the one most powerful female role model in any girl’s life.  And that role model is the girl’s own mother!

‘Mom’ is the ultimate “mirror” in which most women reflect on their own images of femininity, womanhood, self and life!  It doesn’t mean she will choose to be like her mother.  But it is in her mother’s image that she examines her own, and decides whether she will  accept, reject, or refine her own!

So as I look at issues of violence on women in India, what interests me most is the relationship between mothers and daughters.  In this following article for the Indo-Canadian magazine Masalamommas, I look at five Bollywood films and how they portray mother-daughter relationships.

To read the article click here. (more…)

Why did the film ‘Eat Pray Love’ Marry Off the Indian Girl?

‘Eat Pray Love’ was showing in theaters in India about two weeks ago, and I have to admit, that like most here, I too went to see it just to see how the country looks on the big screen. But the one question that’s been nagging at me since is, “Why did they have to get Tulsi married?”

The seventeen-year-old Indian girl, Tulsi, who Liz Gilbert befriends at the ashram, has a colorful wedding in the film, which she does not in the book. True, films often distort their source to suit the audience’s whims. And a Bollywood style wedding would certainly spice up the visual appeal. Yet I found Tulsi’s wedding to be a symbolic slaughter of the spirit of this book; a mockery of one of its core issues.

Since Liz already travels, explores and writes, doing all she truly loves, what was her big soul-searching journey all about? In her own words: “I don’t want to have a baby,” an issue she wrestles with incessantly. “That deadline of THIRTY loomed over me..and I discovered I did not want to be pregnant.” And again, “I well know what desire feels like. But it [the desire for a child] wasn’t there.” Her real concern about motherhood, it seems is how she would be perceived if she openly admitted she didn’t desire children. She agonizes over how people would “judge” her. “What kind of a person does that make me?”  Read the article here on Pickled Politics

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