There are 4 main protagonists in the documentary whose life story we get to hear. Interestingly they represent different phases of generation as well. First we have a middle-aged writer trying to make sense of the physical and sexual abuse he witnessed studying in an elite military academy and the shock he goes through. He grows up confused as to what real meaning of manhood is. Secondly we have a Sikh father of twin daughters resisting the pressure to produce a son. And we find out this is because he was born when his father was quite old. The social pressure of having a son to take your legacy forward is still very much prevalent in India. Then we meet a young 20ish college student looking for a girlfriend with whom he can lose his virginity. He talks about what girls want these days and how it is not the easiest thing to have a girlfriend. He also talks about the fact of losing virginity is a big social pressure among the friend circle. If you don’t do it, you are called names. Finally we have a working class openly gay man who is married to a woman and has children as well. He came out to his wife but continued to stay married for her and kids sake. , and a working-class gay activist coming out to his wife after twenty years of marriage. The documentary starts a conversation on critical issues including patriarchy, son preference, sexual violence and homophobia in a nation increasingly defined by social inequalities.
I would say that the idea behind the documentary is interesting but you really cannot generalise anything in a country like India. A country with 1.2 billion people and growing will have all sorts of views and opinions and it would be unfair to judge anyone through these 4 people. They have interesting stories to tell and does bring to light few interesting aspects of what does it mean to be a “man” in Indian society. One other thing glaringly missing in the documentary is total lack of female point of view. What about the women in their lives and where do they fit it. That hasn’t been talked about. Also what about the machoism aspect where men treat women as slaves and servants and object of desire. Why don’t we talk about that?
As I said, decent idea but grossly missed opportunity. (4/10)