Presented By UAB Department of Art & Art History Movie: Lav Kush

Join the UAB DAAH for the second 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 March 28 is:
Lav Kush (1997), V. Madhusudan Rao, 2h 45m. After defeating Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, Rama returns to the city of Ayodhya where he is crowned king. There, he settles down to a harmonious life along with his three brothers (Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan), their wives, and his own wife, Sita. Rama’s spies inform him that his reputation may be at stake as Sita had spent over a year in Ravana’s palace during the period of her abduction. As a result, Rama asks a reluctant Lakshman to ensure that Sita is sent to exile. A devastated, pregnant, and distraught Sita is rescued by the sage Valmiki, who takes her to his ashram, where she subsequently gives birth to two sons, Kush and Lav. Valmiki trains the boys in every possible way, including knowledge, warfare, and religion. Ten years later, the twins decide to visit a drought and famine-ravaged Ayodhya to get the blessings of Rama and Sita as well recite the Ramayana. Here, they discover that Rama had exiled Sita, and they return home disappointed, refusing to recite the Ramayana further. The boys then stop the Rama’s sacrificial horse on its wanderings, not realizing that they will soon be thrust into confrontation with none other than Rama and the entire army of Ayodhya.

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