Winner - FIPRESCI Award in non competetive section at VENICE 2003
Winner - AUDIENCE Award for Best Film at KOZLIN, Film Festival 2003, Poland
Winner - AUDIENCE Award for Best Foreign Film at THESSALONIKI Film Festival, 2003
Winner AUDIENCE Award for Best Film at Festival of Indian Films, FLORENCE, 2003
"One of the year's top ten films in the world..." Time Magazine
According to a recent report by UNESCO, there are around 50 million women missing from the population of India due to gender discrimination. The film "Matrubhoomi - A nation without women" explores the impact of absence of women on men. The instability, which can creep into a society due to the absence of women - be it physical, emotional and psychological - is the main theme of the film. It underlines how the absence of women inexorably leads to the debasement of men, draining them of all that makes them human.
The film explores a futuristic rural India wherein due to rampant female infanticide, women are practically extinct. The impact of the absence of women on men sees them finding alternative sources of release - pornography, homosexuality, bestial violence. When a girl is actually spied, she is promptly sold and married to five brothers. All five and the father-in-law exercise their conjugal rights in turn. She starts coming closer to the youngest brother, the only one who treats her as a human being much to the chagrin of the father and other brothers. The eldest brother has the youngest one killed. She turns to her father for refuge but the father blinded with money too lets her down. After her attempt to escape with the low caste family servant boy unwittingly triggers off a caste war, she is clapped in iron chains in a cowshed and raped repeatedly by her family and the low castes as well. When she finally becomes pregnant, everyone claims paternity. In the throes of the devastating caste war that ensues over her, she gives birth to a girl.
The duality in the treatment and position of women in India has always intrigued me. In a country where women are worshipped as Goddess Kali and Durga, sadly, every year thousands of women fall prey to dowry deaths, rapes and female infanticides. According to an estimate, there are around 50 million women missing from the population of India due to gender discrimination.
The invaluable contribution of women in keeping a society sane and stable and on the other hand emotional and psychological bankruptcy of a society where precariously unbalanced sex ratio has created a morally instable society are the impetus behind the film "Matrubhoomi - A nation without women".
The film explores an India of the future, when women are an increasingly scarce species. Though futuristic, the milieu, the humour, the plot and characters are based in a contemporary set-up in order to highlight the magnitude of the problem and make it more real and imminent than a distantly fairy tale. It underlines how the absence of women inexorably leads to the debasement of men, draining them of all that makes them human.
The film is an ode to the beauty and power of women and the chaos that can ensue due to their physical or emotional absence in a society.
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