A movie you must watch – “The World Before her”

We often hear tragic things on the news about girls, and women in India.  It often involves public violence, domestic violence, female infanticide, lack of education and so forth.  Interestingly enough, all these topics were directly or indirectly discussed in the film “The World Before Her”.  The film presents the viewer with different characters, men and women, who share their story with us.  At the end, you don’t see them as good or bad people; they are just individuals with a story, a culture and a strong belief system.

The filmmaker managed to portray two “Indias”, people with opposite mindsets, goals and lifestyles.  On one side, you find women fighting for their Hindu traditions and on the other end you find them shifting to a relatively modern or so-called western way of life.  It’s as-if Indians thought that they had to accept or reject globalization in order to survive as a nation.  This movie raises a lot question for women, but more precisely for the country (as a whole) as it directly highlights a dilemma around the integrity of Indian traditions and religions within the modern world.

This documentary beautifully portrays the role of women in this political and religious fight.  When you think about it, what extremists, or Hindu fundamentalists appear to be truly concerned about in this movie is their religion, and the role that women should play in society to protect this movement.  As mentioned by one of the protagonists, women should marry at the age of 18 because they need to be mothers, wives, and an example to the community to be respected.  If she pursues a career, she will fail in her role and become a disgrace to society.

Although Hinduism remains the central point of reference in the movie, it would be interesting to know how other religions or cultures portray the role of women in society?

Aren’t we familiar with the perceived threat that career-oriented women pose in other cultures?

No doubt that some events illustrated in Nisha Pahuja’s movie represent a shock for people in the Western World.  We are generally not used to seeing such drastic forms of “dysfunctional belief system” but there are some aspects of this story that we have seen in other parts of the world.  At least, this is my analysis of the situation.

Now you could also ask, why did I have to write about this movie?

To start with, I am the co-founder of Link Women in the Arts, the result of a collaboration between Women of the Five Continents (Wo5C), and Linkarte.  This movie was a true inspiration for me and it is an honor to discuss about a movie produced by a female Indian-born producer.  It reinforces my desire to support women in the world of art.

What about you? Would you like to forge your own opinion on this movie?  You can rent or buy a copy on Amazon.  For more reviews on this movie, you can follow this link.  You can also watch the filmmaker Nisha Pahuja’s interview on PBS for the in-and outs of the movie.

Author: Orphise Rodriguez

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