Thursday, February 16, 2006

Matrubhoomi - A Nation without Women

Saw this Manish Jha movie yesterday - the first I have seen on female infanticide, and possibly the only one made so far with this theme.



*Spoilers Galore :)

The movie's opening scene shows a lady in childbirth. She gives birth and the cries of the just-born child trigger celebrations among the junta gathered outside the house. The celebrations stop abruptly when the midwife grimly announces - "Its a girl". The next scene is one of the most chilling I have seen in any movie, the girl child, still crying, is immersed in a big bowl of milk and killed, with no regrets...female infanticide which was (and still is) so rampant in Indian villages.

Cut to many years later - you see a guy dressing up as a woman as we see hundreds of restless men gathered in front a stage and cheering as if they are just gonna witness Mallika Sherawat (just an example!) strip naked on the stage and do a strip dance. An announcement begins "Bhaiyon aur Bhaiyon" indicating the mix in the crowd...the transvestite(?) comes on to the stage in colourful clothing and make-up and starts dancing (to Shilpa Shetty's Main aayi hoon UP Bihar lootne) sending the male crowd into raptures. Another scene after this shows a group of young men getting tokens to get into a dimly lit room with a television, where they have been subjected to the same porn movie 3 days in a row. The chatter among the menfolk in the room show their desperation for female company and their eagerness to see a new porn movie. The show begins and they fall silent, and stir their sexuality. One of them, unable to control himself, gets into a nearby barn and makes out with a cow...desperation...

We are then exposed to a typical family in the village of a father and his 5 sons (Sushant Singh being the youngest), with the sons desperate for a female in the family and the eldest son cribbing to his Dad about not getting him a bride. A marriage broker Panditji is in search of a bride for the family and he asserts that all girls from 8 to 80 (or some such number) have already been taken and there's no one left. And the Panditji is a homosexual as one of the scenes indicate.

A marriage soon happens in the village (after 25 years) and there are celbrations throughout. The bride's father collects 2 lakhs and 2 cows (dowry ironically) as a price for his daughter. Just when the ceremony is about to be solemnised, it is discovered that the bride is actually a boy...

Panditji, on his way back to his village after the 'marriage' chances upon a girl - Kalki (Tulip Joshi) - and milks her father's greed for money to his advantage. She is soon married to all 5 of them (in an awesome marrige scene) for a princely dowry of 5 lakhs and 5 cows. After the marriage, the family sits down and decides who gets her for each night of the week (One of the brothers does not want Friday coz he is on vratha!), and to complete the week the father stakes claim, and also gets the first night. Kalki bears the brunt of the family every night and we see her transforming from a beautiful young girl to a burnt out machine used only to satisfy the sexual needs of the family. Sushant Singh acts differently from the rest though, and pities her, and ends up being a very good husband to her. This turns the other family members jealous and they murder Sushant. Kalki tries to elope with the lower-caste helper in the house, but is caught and the boy is murdered and cut up into pieces. Kalki is chained to the cowshed where the lower caste people take revenge on her for the murder by raping her every night. Finally she becomes pregnant, but the abuse continues inspite of this. One of the brothers, on seeing her bloated stomach does not realise she is pregnant and thinks her stomach is filled with gas or something - painful...

Finally when the village realises she is pregnant, the whole village stakes claim to the child and a caste war ensue. Kalki gives birth in this backdrop...to a girl child...movie ends...

The theme is awesome, and the non-graphic scenes still manage to leave an impact. If you are the kind who likes thought-provoking movies, then go for it! This is NOT a commercial movie.

6 scribbles:

Blogger Sudheer Narayan says...

bugger,

your blog was graphic enough for everyone who does not have an extreme liking for thoughtful movies to not see the movie.

2:52 PM  
Blogger DD says...

:)

3:29 PM  
Blogger Dewaker Basnet says...

commercial or non commercial is more of a fad nowadays..they say that its a non commercial movie and look at the bucks they read at mulitplexes:)

well reviewed piece..will definitely go for it..or rather get a DVD and watch..thanks dude

5:24 PM  
Blogger duttan says...

nice review.

Sith Lords like the graphics.

:-D

9:00 PM  
Blogger silverine says...

Read your review yesterday and was too shocked to leave a comment. Read an article in India Today along the same lines about families in Haryana sharing a wife. Very disquieting.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Nirav says...

spoiler indeed :)

6:16 AM  

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