Matrubhoomi – A social sci-fi


[Pic – Frontline]

Reading this quasi-review Matrubhoomi directed by Manish Jha, I’m pushed to look out for the availability of the film in video stores around me. While most science fictions deal with gizmos and fanatasy stuff, here’s a sci-fi with a social sense.

From what’s been written, the movie could also end up as yet another message movie. It’s the premise of the movie excites me for this is what is expected from our folks at woods of India. Also the note that Jha, the director of this movie had already won a Prix du jury at Cannes his feature, for A Very Very Silent Film, makes me have high regard on his abilities as a director.

From Frontline –

Futuristic films are supposed to be an escape into fantasy, even if they do make passing or pointed references to current attitudes and cultural fashions. They are usually not grounded in current social reality – a reality rooted in centuries of accumulated prejudice and burdens of history. Jha’s film is more a doomsday warning – of the approaching apocalypse of moral collapse and sexual depravity caused by selective decimation of women – than a futuristic sci-fi scenario. The film describes the nightmare of what happens to a society that systematically kills girls – after they are born, if they have not been finished off in the womb itself. Our past foretells the future. The past Jha resurrects is from the Mahabharata, of a Draupadi married to five brothers – in this case, not out of the choice of a swayamvar but because there is a dearth of brides in a sex-starved patriarchy. Will this enhance the value of women and the girl child? So the proponents of sex-determination tests would have you believe, as they try to offer a sociological rationale for the morally indefensible practice of selective abortions.

His short A Very Very Silent Film (a pavement dweller is raped through the night by the many passers by till it is discovered to be a corpse the next morning) won the Prix du jury at Cannes in the year our media went gaga over Devdas (ignoring the quickly emptying halls) to the exclusion of everything else – including the arrival of a major new talent.