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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Matrubhoomi portrays a haunting reality

Matrubhoomi is not a film for the weak hearted. It's a hard hitting movie based on the subject of female infanticide, which gets regular coverage, even in this day and age in India. The movie is about a fictional village in Uttar Pradesh, where girl babies have been killed to such an extent that women have actually become extinct! One young girl is found and she's married off to five brothers.

This film is not graphic but the implications are obviously horrific. It brings to mind, scenes of gang rape and even more brutal violence inflicted on the few women who do survive in such a mileu. Matrubhoomi is based on a Unesco report that 35 million women have been killed or are unaccounted for in the past 100 years, in India.

This Rs 3 crore film has taken two years before it opened for viewing. It's set to be dubbed in five other languages - Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Bengali. The Gujarati and Telugu versions are expected to release soon. Each dubbed version has cost the producers Rs 50 lakhs.

Matrubhoomi has been directed by Cannes award winning director Manish Jha, who got finances for this film quite easily. Jha told CNBC-TV18, "I'm not making a film for the weak hearted, who don't want to face reality. Even reading the newspaper these days will make us aware of the things happening around us are so brutal. So, all I'm doing is mellowing it down and showing it visually. You won't see actual violence or nudity in the film because that would have taken it (the message) away. The film is going to be powerful or less powerful depending on the imagination of the audience."

Matrubhoomi has picked up four awards at International film festivals. In India, the movie is being distributed by Boney Kapoor's BSK Entertainment.

Producer Punkej Kharabanda said, Audiences have made up their mind about what they want to see and what they don't want to see. I've not seen a good movie being put down by the audience. The only thing that works is a good film. Going by the logic that people want escapism cinema, then this entire film will not do well in a multiplex because multiplexes also have their food courts, entertainment centres, shopping malls and audiences trying to take in everything together."

"On the other hand, we have the trade saying that multiplexes is the right place for this film. So I do not believe in any of these myths. The only thing I believe in, is that you can't put down good cinema and a good film."

Jha adds, "I could have made it a very unrealistic film - by making her stand against the whole village or by burning the whole village down and shooting everybody. People would have clapped at the end of the film but that would have been a very typical commercial masala film. But in a realistic scenario what would a woman do in this kind of situation where there are no women left and the men have gone crazy or are abnormal. So what are the ways that she can protect herself? That's why the movie ends with the entire village being destroyed with only the young girl, her baby and young boy left behind - it's like a new beginning for her."

With cinema like this, there is hope for more meaningful movies hitting the audience where it hurts - their conscience.

Written for www.moneycontrol.com

1 comment:

monica said...

why this movie is banned in India? looking at the condition now indians need to watch thi movie..... and no matter how weak heat people are if they accept wat is going around then they shuold accept the consequences of their doing