The World Before Her

I have been looking for a copy of this for months. I wanted to watch it when it released in the theatres in June but could not. And then through twitter I got to know the copy is finally online. I must have searched atleast a 100 times for this... and there were not enough seeds for the copy so I had to leave the laptop turned on all day hoping the download will start. 

This is a documentary written and directed by Nisha Pahuja. It explores 2 Indias that exist today- one is the traditional, staunch, values driven India while the other is the 'modern' India. 

The camera follows 2 girls from the opposite ends of this spectrum and takes us into their lives and belief systems. Are they really that far apart or are they both actually looking for the same thing? 

Ruhi Singh is a 19 year old from a middle class family in Jaipur. She dreams of winning the Miss India crown and is one of the 20 contestants who are part of pageant. She has to go through training on grooming, catwalk, diet, posture, confidence... everything. Like Sabira Merchant, a Miss India trainer, mentions - all these girls have beauty but they enter a factory and completely transform themselves. And its not easy... they have to take botox injections, get skin treatments, walk with sacks on their heads so Marc Robinson can judge their legs without being distracted by their beautiful faces and wear a bikini. Ruhi does not win the contest and in the end she mentions how she will get married in 4-5 years and this is the only time she has to fulfil her dreams. Which is the irony. So called 'modern' girls also want to get married at the end of the day.

On the other side is Prachi Trivedi who is part of Durga Vahini in Aurangabad. DV is the Hindu wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. They train women to hate other religions, defend themselves, pray and even shoot guns. It is amazing how girls in school talk about killing people who go against their religion. Shocking. Prachi wants to dedicate her life to DV even though their core belief is that women's aim should be to get married, have kids and obey their husbands. Prachi does not want to get married but her conservative father has other plans for her. Prachi is fighting for the right to live life her way... but she is part of the conservative India. The irony.

On a personal note, women of my generation have or are fighting for our freedom. Hopefully, our daughters won't need to. Prachi's parents and their views remind of my super conservative parents. And when Prachi says- I am grateful my parents didn't kill me when I was born so I don't get angry with them. Because isn't that what happens to so many girls in India? 
Is that what we all should be grateful about and focus on fulfilling our parents' dreams and aspirations instead of our own.

This is a must watch for everyone.


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