Sawnet - Cinema - Reviews
Father, Son and Holy War
Directed by Anand Patwardhan
previous films, this one has been made with a focus on gender.
Statements of a giggling man talking of rape (in films) would leave
you shaken, as would many other things. I learnt, for the first time,
how virility/potency "enhancing" products are sold on the
road to men with so much loud explicit sexual talk while most of us
women seem to have grown up without any awareness of these things or
any information about sexual matters in general (I am talking of
those of us who did not grow up in the west). I don't want this to be
a spoiler for those who haven't seen the movie, so I'll stop here.
But do watch it if you can.
-- Veena Gondhalekar
Anand Patwardhan's new film, "Father, Son and Holy War" in
Ithaca --it was shown as a sort of prelude to the symposium on
"Gender, Nation, and the Politics of Culture in India" at
Cornell University. I found the film very disturbing and depressing,
perhaps because as a documentary it was just showing things that have
been going on in India for the last 7 years, which *are* disturbing
and depressing. It started out with the Sati incident in Rajasthan in
1987 but grew from there, showing incidents of violence between
Hindus and Muslims. He also connected male insecurity with all this
which I thought was interesting. Someone asked about this in
yesterday's SAWNET digest (Shipra) so here's my understanding of it
from the film: The patriarchal connections of Shiv Sena were shown in
the film by talking about Shivaji, and him being the ideal of
manhood, etc. (There was more but I'd have to see the film again to
point out details). And patriarchy was evident at the Sati site when
the Hindu revivalist from Delhi was being interviewed, and the woman
who was anti-sati also made a few statements about the patriarchal
system though of course she didn't call it that. With regard to
Islam, several interviews pointed in the direction of patriarchy.
What was interesting was how the Shiv Sena rhetoric was being used by
the aphrodisiac sellers as a sales pitch! According to the film, male
insecurity was the product of a "tight" construction of
manhood and male identity which in turn is connected to religion.
What I didn't understand was Anand Patwardhan's use of the the
goddess statue (the name of which I forget... Venus? Anyway, the
prehistoric heavy-breasted symbol of matriarchal society) to evoke a
utopia --he later explained that he wasn't trying to suggest
matriarchy as an alternative but just "utopia".
- In general though the filming was great, I found it slightly
disorganized and repetitive. What I did appreciate was that it caught
me up with things I've missed out on for the last 7 years! 
-- Mona Oommen
[South Asian Women Filmmakers]
[Sawnet Film Reviews]
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