Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mathrubhoomi - A nation without women.

A girl child is born and the rejoicing father(s) are stunned. A large pot of milk is prepared and the baby girl is just immersed and held till the bubbles die.

Mathrubhoomi - A nation without women. The title comes alive. This is Manish Jha's movie on female infanticide. The irony was evident in the title. Matrhubhoomi (motherland) - A nation without women.

What happens if there are no women in a population of say 5,000 adolescent and unmarried menfolk ?

What happens if there had been no weddings in the village for Fifteen years ?

What happens if the male-female sex ratio falls drastically say 200 women for 1000 men ?

The movie explores these questions in a realistic way.

a young effemenate man play the parts of a dancergirl in a small village skit with all the other vllagers hooting and jeering the dancegirl. They know that it is a man. But they have no choice.

The local cinema theatre doubles as a mass pronographic den were men jack off relieving their frustrations.

One of the protaganists' friend gets engaged leaving the protaganist fuming with jeleousy. The groom gleefully says "Choudha saal ki apsara hai" (An Fourteen year old Angel). The wedding ceremony is on and the father pauses to pay the bride's dad A lakh of rupees and a few cows. As the wedding draws to a close, it is discovered that the bride is a young boy. The boys father escapes with the money.

A powerful family of fuedators are searching high and low for a bride for the eldest son. The pandit (priest) helps them locate a girl (Kalki) . Unable to decide which of the son to be married to. The father marries all his sons to Kalki. The price of Kalki is Rs. 5 Lakhs.

After the wedding, the sons discuss and work out a schedulde for sleeping with their new bride. Exasperatedly, the father father in law crys "What about Me ? " !!!

Then starts the ordeal for Kalki. The father in law starts consumates the wedding on the first night and a sexual ordeal of macabre proportions follows day in and day out. Kalki is bedded every day of the week for months in continuity. In all these dark surroundings there is a small ray of light and hope for Kalki. Suraj the youngest of the sons is a little more considerate and compassionate towards Kalki. Kalki falls in love with him and really laughs with joy when he is around. He is her only hope in this dark life. The brothers and father in a fit of jelousy murder suraj and thus extinguishes the only light in Kalki's life. Kalki tries to run away with the help of the "house help". The "house help" a young bot of 11 is brutally killed by the brothers and Kalki re-taken prisoner. The "house helps" uncle seeks revenge.

Kalki's ordeal continueous now as a bonded sex slave for the brothers. She is housed in the cowshed, with legs and arms bonded. The brothers and the father-in-law continue to rape and ravage her. The avenging uncle of the "house help" enters the cowshed one night and finds kalki tied and bruised. Unable to control he rapes her tied and bonded.

Kalki becomes pregnant and is now accorded the status of the mother. Things change and she is accepted back at the household. It is strange the eagerness of these men to procreate and further their genes. Kalki gets all the attention for one brief moment.

Who is the father ? "Me" cry all the brothers. The avenger who rapes her for his slain nephwe is elated too. He comes to claim his bride and the baby starting off a bloody caste war. Kalki goes into labour when the whole village fights, killing and burning each other.

Kalki delivers and its a girl...

The whole movie is so intense it disturbed me completely. Shorn of all Jhatak Mhataks (bollywood hip gyrations) and lousy candyfloss songs set in switzerland, Mathrubhoomi demands your full undevided attention. It would shock you, stun you and numb you with its in-your-face story telling and gory violence.

Kalki represents India in some of its villages, raped and abused by fuedal lords who fight to take posession of.

Sadly, many parts of northern India (haryana) are as portrayed in this movie. Sex ratios have fallen to as low as 650 women for 1000 men. bride buying from bangladesh is also common. Frustrated males have taken to crime and have unleashed a terror unimagined in independant india.

A similar problem cropped up in southern India (Tamil Nadu) but thanks to Jayalalitha (one of the shrewedest Chief ministers) it was nipped in the bud. Small Self help groups are promoted funded by the state to aleviate poverty and provide opportunites at the lowest end of the society. These self help group have spread education and counsel young mothers and families. Coupled with this tough (in terms of female infanticide) poliece action and swift prosecution has curbed this menace in the mid 90s. More importantly female infanticide is considered a social stigma and this has given the girl child a little larger window of survival.

I would advise people with a faint heart not to watch the movie. But I believe this is one of the best scripted movie to come out of bollywood in a long time.

Kudos to Jah for a brilliant piece of cinema.

According to the Union health and family welfare minstry and UN organisations over 35 million girl children had been killed systematically over the last hundred years.

Female infanticide must stop and the full force of law should be behind it, else we would really become "a nation without women"


At 2:45 AM, Blogger gulnaz said...

i have heard that more 'educated' well-to-do people go in for aminocentesis compared to others.
i just don't get it!

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Misreflection said...

Very disturbing indeed brutal and sad..and the world looks on. Is there any hope and if so will it come?,I fear it will be too late.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger small squirrel said...

holy mother of god!

yes, this is a problem, not only in india but also in places like china where the "one child policy" is enforced, and so why "waste" your one shot on a girl? They do what Gulnaz described and simply abort the girls. It also happens in other places...

I am not sure I could sit through that movie. I have to ask this question... there seems to be a lot of rape in the movie. Please tell me that it is not graphically shown. I hate it when directors use rape as a substitute sex scene. I do not mean to be awful, but there are men who get off watching shit like that.

anyway, good that this subject was brought to light. Not pleasant, but from what you've said it is obviously something that needs to be discussed and taken care of.

it breaks my heart, though.

At 3:27 AM, Blogger perspective said...

Damn it!! i wonder how i'd react if i actually see the movie...
I shuddered just reading this...
I am angry as hell!

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Ramana Siddharth said...

lots of doctors are hand in glove 2..esp i think this is more the case in suburban and rural areas..they reveal the child's gender knowing it is illegal...

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Vasu the terrible said...

@squirril - Its a movie, and as any movie the lines are clearly demarcated between good and bad. Also a lot of what is shown is exaggeration and this is the author's take on the future... But apart from that, it doesent have any explicit sexual scenes... or if it had, it must have been chopped of by the sensors... This movie is hard, gory and shocking even without the explicit sexual scenes. I am a hard nut as far as appreciating movies are concerned. This is one of the best. I think for the sheer shock value one should watch it atleast once.

@Perpective - Yes, I agree. It makes any watcher angry and totally revolting to see. Thats the idea. The whole scenario is so violently put that people raise their awareness level. We have also become so insensitive to everyday problems narrated in a newsreader's tone. Do we care if someone dies in a road accident or someone is gangraped ? It just ends as a statistic in the inner pages. This is precisely why Jha has made such a shocking movie. To make us see in a world full of distraction.

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy to see a movie on this.. hopefully everyone's social awareness goes up..

The reality aspects and the shades of truth from the past and today's present truly is saddening..

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Sarva said...

very brutal...and very sad state of affairs...we must congratualte Jha for this bold step..though pple know female infanticide exists, nobody gives much thot abt it in this fast world..I gus this film cud be similar to passion of christ in a way the viewer can feel some part of the pain the victims undergo..films like this shud reach proper authorities to stop this crime with iron fist.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Archana said... one please...

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Vinod_Gopurathingal said...

i liked the movie very much. one reason is, it is different from other TYPE hindi movies. may be the story is littlebit exaggerated.but nature of characters is very true to normal village life and i think also it gives a strong message to us.

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:55 AM, Blogger Jayant Chaudhary said...

Hmmm... I am not so sure if the movie and director is so brilliant as it has been painted by you and others.

I was liking it in the sense of its basic theme (female infenticide), until the scene of father crying out "what about me?". Now, that was the nadir of the movie, in one single shot the movie was brought down from it's glorious heights to abyss of "shock-factor". There was NO need to have such a scene. That scene and others with father being involved with daughter-in-law were written and directed to serve only one purpose, to add more shock and disgust. But excess of anything is harmful like "ati sarvtra varjvet". That is where my disenchantment and indigestion with the movie begin.

Granted that young sons were desperate as many men of their generation for marriage and ultimately for sexual pleasure. But shortage of women had nothing to do with father trying to get his share. Even in torday's world there are plenty of widowed fathers who take care of their children alone without remarrying. Their choice of not marrying again is not altered by availablity (or unavailablity) of marriagable women. Therefore, the acute shortage does NOT alter the behavior of widowed fathers and therefore, this part of the film was useless for everything other than shock value.

Another shocking thing was to show the 'domestic help' adding urine in the 'sharbat' for the priest. That was also a scene that could have been avoided.

While the director makes a valiant effort and take upon a great issue, he has fallen in the trap of adding more masala (read shocking scenes), thus crossing the line that seperates a great movie from not so great ones.

I really wish that this movie was without such scenes, then it would have been one of the best I had ever seen.


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