The movie revolves around the subject of immoral traditions- female infanticide, oppression and violation of women. I recently watched this movie and it left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. As the title suggests, the story is setup in 2050 when no women are left in the nation. It is the result of male child favoritism (which are treated as prized assets) by the villagers. The barbaric practice of drowning female infant in cauldron milk shows the cruelty of loveless depraved society. There are many taboo subjects touched in the movie when men get sexually frustrated in futuristic India. Their desperation leads to bestiality– sex with cow, homosexuality– Hindu priest indulging in anal sex, pornography, frontal nudity, mass slaughter, gang-rape, etc.
Widower Ramcharan, a rich landlord is on “bride-hunt” for his sons. When the village priest finally finds a girl, named Kalki, she is bought off instantly. The five sons marry her. A schedule is set on the wedding night by the sons to take turns for their sexual gratification from her. The father-in-law also takes pride of ownership along with the sons, as he does not want to be alienated from the carnal pleasure. The bride is defiled and seen as an object of sexual release by all the men of the dysfunctional family but the youngest, Sooraj. He is the only one who treats her humanly. But due to jealousy and rage, the other brothers and Ramcharan kills the only solace Kalki had in that hellhole. When she tries to escape or ask help from her avaricious father, she is beaten blue and shackled in a cowshed for punishment, where some villagers rape her too. She becomes pregnant. All the villagers stake claim for the parentage of unborn child and an inter-communal riot occurs in which everyone kills each other. During the whole movie, the lightening and background is bleak, dull and morose which depicts sickness of the society but it changes when Kalki is about to give a new life. The birth of female baby inspires the glow of hope.
The movie is realistic, as it shows not all men are the same. Sooraj, old servant and new servant, all three of them show some basic human sentiments. The character of the female protagonist is not very loud. It is disturbing to see her sprawled all over the bed/floor lifelessly while the men come and go every night. Her silence speaks itself. A wry sense of humor is showed in the movie when the old servant serves urine as sharbat to the priest whenever he visits or how men entertain themselves by cross dressing and dancing on item songs.
The movie brings out emotions like disgust, revulsion, shock, and detestation by appalling view of patriarchal perversity. Manish Jha at such a young age showed harsh reality that shook many to the core and jolted them awake from their slumber. He has not sugarcoated the truth and displayed the savage side of brutish men as well as wretched state of women in rural India. To watch this movie, one needs to have a strong stomach and an open mind as it is not a ‘feel good’ movie. The rape scenes are not graphical but suggested which makes the movie intensely wicked. The bold and provocative theme highlights the rawness of the story. No surprise that the movie got a standing ovation and International Critics’ Prize. But it also displeased many viewers and they termed it ‘repulsive’ because according to Jha, ‘people think a film cannot portray truth, not even fictionalized’. There are many movies made on this topic but none quite like this one. The question that Jha arose is, even though we admire the richness of Indian culture, how come such awful things happen in a rich and noble culture? Women in India are reduced to minority and it is heartbreaking to say that they still are not treasured. A caption at the end of movie points out that in past 100 years 35 million females have been lost due to infanticide in India. If India does not changes its ways then this fiction will become reality in no time. Do we really want that? Can a nation survive without women?