Presented By UAB Department of Art & Art History and AEIVA Movie: Lajja

Join the UAB DAAH for the third in a series of free, IndiaFest film screenings. Light refreshments will be served.
This year’s IndiaFest screenings will feature films and documentaries focused on the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, and asks how do we reconcile Rama’s radically unfair treatment of his wife, Sita, in several instances in the latter books of the Ramayana, in light of his widely-perceived status as the ideal man, and of hers, as the ideal woman and wife? How has this paradox been treated in Indian cinema—especially Bollywood cinema, which has, for the most part, tended to reconfirm conservative Hindu social norms?
By some reckonings, at least thirty-four film versions of the Ramayana have been released, along with several popular television serials in South and Southeast Asia. This short film series selects from these retellings films that present the Ramayana from Sita’s standpoint or call into question Rama’s cruel rejection of his ever-faithful wife.
Screening on April 4 is:
Lajja (2001), Rajkumar Santoshi, 3h 22m. Lajja is a sweeping indictment of various forms of subjugation of women across class and caste, Director Raj Kumar Santoshi explores cultural misogyny with a quartet of compelling tales in this intense and personal drama. Pregnant and locked in a loveless marriage with her uncaring husband, Raghu (Jackie Shroff), Manisha abandons him to embark on a soul-searching and sometimes disturbing journey. The four Sitas she meets on her long journey each weave a telling tale concerning their integral roles in their respective communities and the hardships they’ve faced in trying times. The fact that the four women’s names (Maithili, Janki, Ramdulaari, and Vaidehi) are all versions of Sita, the ideal Hindu woman’s name, is a message in itself.

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