Documentaries are a rich source of information and inspiration but now they can also serve the purpose of bringing to the fore certain highly-sensitive topics, and in engaging society. Documentaries are history written in moving photos.  Hundred years down the line, if we want to know an age, we can watch a documentary and understand it. Movies can act as the same but documentaries are more reliable as they are non fictional. Here are 8 documentaries on Indian women you must watch:

1. The World Before Her:

The film moves between two extremes—the intimate drama of the Miss India Pageant’s rigorous beauty boot-camp, and the intense Hindu national camp for young girls. The film is a provocative portrait of India’s long standing cultural conflict over its stand on women.

2. Gulabi Gang:

Satbodh Saindata founded the Gulabi Gang, who was a former child bride, a mother of 5 and a Govt. health worker after having beaten an abusive husband. After that a lot of women joined her intending to punish abusive husbands. They either scolded, publicly humiliated or threatened to beat up with lathis, if the husband would not stop abusing his wife. They wear pink as a uniform. Most of the women are from a poor background and the lowest caste, the Dalit. The gang makes no discrimination based on gender, as they fight against male oppression too. Crimes like dowry, dowry beatings, rape, child marriages, domestic abuse, dowry death,  desertion, depriving one of an education, child molestation, and sexual harassment are all watched for and punishable by the gang.

3. Tales of the Night Fairies:

This is a documentary on the lives of the sex workers of Sonagachi Kolkata. However, it is not a story of pain or shame that we might want think on hearing the name ‘Sex worker.’ This story vibrantly talks and shows about the lives of the sex workers who are normal human beings like us. The sex workers in this documentary are empowered under Sonagachi sex workers association. The can negotiate with the local police on raids, fines or any brutality meted out to them. This documentary will want you question if prostitution should be legalized in India.

4. My Sacred Glass Bowl:

This film explores the concept of virginity in India, as perceived by communities who still uphold archaic traditions associated with a woman’s virginity.

5. Prostitutes of God:

In India where everything is in contrast, religion and prostitution are geared together in the name of the Devadasi tradition of India. Girls as young as 10 are given away to temples in the name of God, which in bitter reality makes little girls prostitutes and parents as pimps. As, one of the Devadasi says that if she goes to school, her family will go hungry.In olden times, the Devadasis were temple dancers, who had a high place in the society. However, as time passed by, they were reduced to street hookers, with the fear of AIDs and other STDs. In this video, you will meet young girls, sold to landlords as Devadasis to old Devadasis who are scurrying for two meals a day.

6. Love in India:

Love in India is an exploration into the roots of romance and the eternal flame of ‘love.’ Through the parallel narrative of the filmmaker in his personal space, as well as, his journey through the country, the film deals with the dichotomy of love and sex which exists in India—the land of the Kamasutra.

7. A Body That will Speak:

This film tells the story of women undergoing body image issues and struggling to be the ‘ideal body type.’ Commenting on society’s obsession with body image, the film moves beyond disorders, and discovers real women battling the fantasies within and around them.

8. Purple Skies:

The film gives a voice to India’s lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders, weaving together their stories and experiences of belonging to the LGBT community in India.

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