Posts Tagged rape

The Journey to Her Smile – Movie Review

Rangmunch screened the film, “The Journey To Her Smile” at ICC, Milpitas, CA by playwright, producer and director, Suchita Phule. This film was screened in Jakarta’s famous festival, the International Film Festival for Women, and was most recently screened at Cannes Film Festival, to great accolades.

Image may contain: 2 peopleThe film focuses on girls’ and women’s abuse in India. Young middle class couple, Revati and Aditya Deshmukh (Girija Oak and Aastad Kale), with their 5 year old daughter, Anaya were living a picture perfect life, before calamity struck. Mother, Revati Deshmukh (Girija Oak) says, “our little world was filled with small joys”. After eight years of marriage, spark was not only alive but was constantly lit between the young couple, and little Anaya was the center of their life.

But Revati’s world falls apart one day. Unable to express her deep anguish and feelings of guilt, Revati is hovering on the edge of a psychological disorder. As a husband and father, protector of the family and Revati’s soulmate, Aditya feels helpless.  Aditya tries his best to help get Revati’s and his family’s life back on track. Meanwhile Revati’s own struggle on this path is — The Journey To Her Smile.

India has recently gained notoriety as one of the most dangerous places for women and girls. It bears repeating that little girls are often victims of horrendous and lewd behavior from men. And sometimes little girls are victims of rape by old men, as indicated by recent case of #ChennaiHorror where a young girl was raped for several months by 22 men, some as old as 60. But while the world reverberates in shock at such news, sometimes victim gets some needed help, but we rarely pay attention to family members who have a difficult journey of their own to mend their broken hearts, to pick up the pieces, to move on, to proclaim their own smiles back, and thus their control over their lives back.  Sometimes, a victim herself may be able to move on, but a family member, often a mother, may sink deeper into the anguish.


Suchita Phule has done absolutely fabulous job in what began as a short film and ended up as a full length feature film, in depicting the far reaching impact of abuse that goes beyond the victim who is directly targeted by the perpetrators. Girija Oak plays her role, part bubbly joyous young wife and mother, and part her melancholy woman role, with great aplomb. Flecked with sadness and steel, desperation and determination, she makes her difficult journey to claim her smile back, because in the end, “no one else can do it for you, you have to stand up for yourself and move on”.  Kudos to Rungmunch ( Theater with a Cause and organizers Smita Karhade and Madhav Karhade for organizing this fabulous screening and for supporting quality live theater and film events in the bay area; because story-telling has a power to change the world.

Also sharing link to my little poem here


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Kultar’s Mime – Play Review

“Is there a price for their deaths?  How shall the price be paid?

Sarbpreet Singh’s poem “Kultar’s Mime”, inspired from Haim Bialik’s poem, “In the City of Slaughter”, forms the basis of the play, by the same name, and thus two cultures miles apart, get bound by unforgettable ties, carved in blood.

Kultar's Mime Cast

“In the City of Horrors” recounts the horrific pogrom that was organized, targeting the Jewish population of Kishinev, Russia, in 1903.  Eighty one years later, Delhi, capital of India erupted in violence, after the assassination of Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, by her Sikh bodyguards.  In an organized orgy of murder, rape, and arson, more than 3000 Sikh residents in and around Delhi, lost their lives, others lost their homes and their livelihoods, their parents and their siblings, their limbs, their eyes, and their sanity.  “Kultar’s Mime” makes a valiant effort to capture the horrific suffering unleashed upon a community, and succeeds in forming ties across cultures and communities that have endured such pogroms, in history.

If you ever incredulously wonder, “Did it happen?  Did men become such cruel beasts?” and then wonder how can keepers of the law, allow, sanction, and protect organized thugs to run amuck and unleash such pain, then you will find in history, it has happened and happened, time and again.  With evocative lyrics, the play captures it all – “when I walk the streets of Delhi today, I shall see blood mixed with dirt”; “are you so blind, you can’t see”.  Each child, in the town of Tilakvihar, “has a tale to tell, each of these children is a living shell”.

Drawing on the raw imagery of both poems, “Kultar’s Mime” not only tells a powerful story of human suffering and courage, but the incredible cast (Addison Williams, Allison Matteodo, Cathryn Roberts, Christine Scherer, Michelle Finston) of “outsiders” to the community, bring it to life, against a backdrop of striking paintings by Evanleigh Davis.  Each actor tells the story of a child, in addition to playing multiple other roles.  The actors own their characters, and deliver such a moving performance that the play bridges all distance of language, culture, or community.  This is a story of human cruelty, of human suffering, of history that we must remember and learn from; never to repeat it.

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