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Son Rise review: Champions of change in the fight for women’s rights

Release Date: 19 Feb 2019 / 49min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Vibha Bakshi's eye-opening documentary delves into gender violence and injustice while offering a glimmer of hope.

The National Award-winning documentary Son Rise takes us to the heart of Haryana, infamous for crimes against women and its staggeringly high rate of female foeticide. Directed by Vibha Bakshi, the film examines the long-term consequences of these practices for the community and society at large.

The film begins with laying out the rampant incidents of aborted female foeticide and the manifold problems that have emerged as a result of the patriarchal mindset of the people. We see the stranglehold of khap panchayats, all-male decision-making bodies that wield immense power in the community.

The first part of the documentary highlights the situation in the state along with the problems that have arisen from it, before moving its focus to the changes that are being initiated. Female foeticide has led to a skewed sex ratio, which in turn has led to a shortage of brides. This has led to the trafficking of women for male villagers. The film draws a link between the low sex ratio and the crimes against women that the state is notorious for. 

But changes are being made on the ground. The sarpanch of Bibipur village is determined to make a difference and holds the first women’s council to curb female foeticide by generating awareness in society. Similarly, ripples of a shifting mindset are observed across the state.

In its attempt to examine the situation in Haryana and document the ways in which change is seeping in despite the rigid mindset of society, Son Rise tries to pack in too much and loses focus along the way. From the issue of female foeticide and the complicity of the community in carrying on the practice, it moves to the husband of a rape survivor, who is committed to bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice. In doing so, the reasons offered for crimes against women seem tentative and only offer a partial view. 

While there are examples of men at the forefront of the initiative for change, we do not really hear enough from the women who have been initiated into this fight. Similarly, an expert states that the sex selection and female foeticide is rampant amongst the wealthy and the educated but again, we do not see evidence of that as the narrative concentrates on villages.

However, this is an eye-opening documentary that delves into gender violence and injustice while offering a glimmer of hope.

Son Rise has won several awards including the National Award for Best Non-Feature Film and Best Non-Feature Film Editing.

The film is being screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival 2020. You can watch the film here till Sunday 8 November.

Related topics

Dharamshala International Film Festival

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