Dawn of equality
The National-Award-winning film Son Rise, which highlights stories of men standing up against patriarchy in the unlikeliest of situations, was recently screened in Delhi. We caught up with director Vibha Bakshi for a tête-à-tête, where she revealed the magic behind the reel.
The audience first gave a standing ovation — and that too for 25 minutes — and then, all of a sudden, they started singing the National Anthem. No, this is not a scene from a film, but what transpired during the recent Delhi screening of the National-Award-winning film, Son Rise, directed by filmmaker Vibha Bakshi. The sensitivity with which the film portrays extraordinary stories of ordinary heroes from Haryana, completely had those in attendance encapsulated.
“It was a very emotional moment for me. The cheering was unbelievable,” shares Vibha, whose film was screened for ambassadors and high commissioners from across the world. Son Rise is set in Haryana, and it depicts a highly patriarchal society with a skewed sex ratio due to rampant illegal sex determination and female foeticide. The sex ratio imbalance has led to an unprecedented level of gender crimes, ranging from bride trafficking to gang rapes. It is in such an unlikely place that regular men take on the fight to change the narrative of gender inequality.
Sharing her experience with the film, Vibha reveals, “We shot this film in Haryana, where we realised that there is an absence of girls. We could not find them anywhere. We never went to make this kind of story, but this is what we found to be the ground reality. And then what we learned is, because of the rampant illegal foeticide, there are 1.6 million men today who won’t find a bride.”
“We found a farmer named Jitender. He married a gang rape survivor, and he is fighting hard for her. And, like him, there are other heroes too, who are changing the narrative on inequality. It is not a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue,” she adds.
The screening was co-hosted by the New Zealand High Commissioner, the Dean of Diplomatic Corps and people of UN Women at Siri Fort, with the ambassadors and high commissioners of 15 missions coming together to pledge their support.
Vibha believes that men must join in the struggle; it is not a man versus woman thing, and everyone needs to stand in solidarity. She continues, “When you see men like them who are brought up in the feet of patriarchy, changing the narrative, one wonders — if they can do it — if the sons can rise from here (Haryana) — then there is no excuse for us.” Speaking about the challenges she faced while making the films, Vibha shares, “Firstly, it took two years to complete this film; secondly, nobody was willing to talk at first but once when we decided to just be there, we were able to win the trust of the people, and then it was them who directed us to all the villages, and we covered 45 villages.”
We found a farmer named Jitender. He married a gang rape survivor, and he is fighting hard for her. And, like him, there are other heroes too, who are changing the narrative on inequality.
A still from Son Rise