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Review Hindi

Chhoti Shameez review: A joyous exploration of what women want

Release Date: 2021 / 15min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Shruti Vohra’s short film sheds light on female desires through a tiny piece of clothing.

Seldom has a piece of clothing been as politicized as a brassiere. Examining patriarchy and its anxiety about women’s bodies, Shruti Vohra’s short film Chhoti Shameez is a celebration of women’s desires, tracked through this tiny yet ingeniously engineered undergarment.

The Hindi and English film revolves around a small bra shop tucked away in the lanes of a crowded market. A middle-aged man, a self-proclaimed expert on knowing the kind of bras women wants, provides the suitable undergarments according to the requirements of his customers. An authority figure of sorts, he puts forth the most boring, conservative style, finding an innovative way of measuring sizes. But when Rani takes over, she transforms the shop, making it a celebration for the motley group of women. 

Chhoti Shameez (small camisole) is a polite way of saying bra. The title itself refers to the embarrassment and hesitation that women are often made to feel around the piece of clothing. Curtailed by the opinion of people, they are unable to express their choices and choose what they wish to wear. One woman gives a long list of specifications, prompting her mother to remark, “Are you making a bra or a bomb!"

Through the group of women, the short film touches upon the way women think about bras and how it binds them — literally and metaphorically. One woman says, “Men would refuse wire in their underpants”, making us wonder why are women made to wrap themselves in wire and uncomfortable contraptions? Woven into this are the aspirations of Rani and her unapologetic stance about what women want.

Chhoti Shameez was screened at the recently concluded Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.


Related topics

Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

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