"The World Before Her" director writes about releasing the film in India and the surprising response it drew wherein the right wing “regressive” forces ended up embracing it whereas the “modern” forces (i.e. Times group) were the ones who tried to suppress the film.
"Times group had forbidden their outlets to publish or carry any story about the film, I felt they were absolutely in their rights to do so. They are after all a corporation and corporations exist to make money. But in retrospect I feel they did a disservice not just to the film, but also themselves. They lost an opportunity to really stand for the ideals and values of a free press—so, so critical now. Institutions and systems that form the pillars of any democracy must be able to withstand, engage and perhaps most importantly, encourage critiques — especially of themselves. Nisha Pahuja."
The dramatic documentary is about a conflicting space containing, two opposing, intolerant, basic ideas and principles. It about these real but unseen Indian women's attitudes in modern India (the World's largest democracy), who belong to the two ends of the spectrum, who are looking to get pride and find self-empowerment but they both have bypassed the education-providing-work to achieve that. The surprising factors was that these women have parallels with each other. In the end of the day these women are on the frontlines of a social battle between these archaic traditions and the objectification of the female body; both of which cater to the masochistic and misogyny society.
The world of one camp of these young women are run by the extreme capitalist glamour industry where young women are run through the system to be categorized (even standardized using medical technology) to what is pleasing to the camera and labeled; fueling them with the hope of independence, the lure of fame and superficial achievements like ribbons; and the seduction of glamour and beauty. In the process humans do lose themselves emotionally. This industry is fueled by the dreamers but has only one face, the one who has survived during each race in this colosseum.
The rest of the thousands who are not part of this club are on the other side of the fence and within that larger space you have a vast number of people who are radicalised (through powerful rhetoric) by channelling all their frustration and focusing on the enemy on the other side. Their meaningless lives have found a purpose, an answer to the reason for their existence; in those number and with their passion they have been groomed for one singular purpose, i.e. to become a weapon.
I had no desire to see this film on a working day but I am glad I changed my mind. I really didn't expect it to be so effective or be such a powerful social exploration.
The World Before Her, has been nominated for the prestigious Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story category. It has won over 19 awards including best documentary feature at the Tribeca Film Festival 2012, best Canadian Feature, 2012 Hot Docs Film FestivaL, best Foreign Film, 2012 Traverse City Film FestivaL, best Canadian Documentary, 2012 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards. It was recently featured in the ‘Film Forward’ program of the prestigious Sundance film festival. The film has been edited by David Kazala and music is by Ken Myhr.
Perhaps what was surprising is the response it drew wherein the right wing “regressive” forces ended up embracing it whereas the “modern” forces (i.e. Times group) were the ones who tried to suppress the film.
Times group had forbidden their outlets to publish or carry any story about the film. By taking such a stand they did a disservice not just to the film, but also themselves. They lost an opportunity to really stand for the ideals and values of a free press.
Producers: Cornelia Principe, Nisha Pahuja
Production company: Storyline Entertainment
Directors of photography: Mrinal Desai, Derek Rogers