Of the myriad number and kind of challenges that women have to face everyday, just by the virtue of being, well, women, finding a house for themselves has been an alarmingly increasing addition to the list. Here, it needs to be noted that this is a challenge only when you don’t have a mandatory male figure around you, while renting a house. Because well, single, independent women are prone to be “promiscuous” and “loose” and what not.
Shikha Makan, a film maker and screenwriter with a Masters in Psychology from Delhi University, faced such a situation in the ‘City of Dreams’ and initially dismissed it as a case of bad luck. But as years passed by, I (sic) began to realize that this was a common story, once again etched in the perennial problem of how our society views women. This realisation prompted her to set on a journey to take this story up through her lens and capture it.
As she set on this journey, she was constantly trying to understand the hypocrisy of the society which on one hand, assertively supports ‘women empowerment‘, but on the other, shuts its doors (quite literally so!) , when an independent woman is at its door step. She said, “This is a very confusing message for an urban, educated woman today. Women have come a long way in their struggles to define their identity and assert their individuality, but clearly the Indian society does not want to accept this version of a new independent woman, who is on her own. The problem is that people want to live in denial and not own up these issues. Most women I met, wanted to speak up, but all did not. I understand their reservations. But many people from the housing societies, real estate brokers also chose to remain quiet. The fact that the story unfolds in the heart of India’s leading metropolis, Mumbai, which is considered as the benchmark of liberalism and emancipation, was a challenge in itself.”
Through a documentary titled ‘Bachelor Girls,’ Makan hopes to raise questions and spark discussions about how we as a society are unequally arranged in terms of power, which leads to women facing endless problems; even when they set out to fulfil their needs as basic as looking for a roof for themselves. Jibing at ‘Bachelor Girls,’ a term used by brokers for single women in Bombay, she aims to show how this term “unleashes a baggage, full of archaic stereotypes that our society carries for a woman who is unmarried and alone.”
If at all you are looking for any more incentives to watch out for this documentary, I saw glimpses of Kalki Koechlin in the promo!