Watched the Marathi film, Sairat in the theatre yesterday and am still so bowled over by the film. For a change it was wonderful to look at how caste got addressed in the film within the larger context of inter-caste love. The first half of the film introduces us to its context – gender, class, caste, electoral politics. It is shot so amazingly beautifully! For me this first half really spells out what it might be like to fall in love and something like this I really haven’t encountered in cinema in India in a long time. The second half brings in living with this love. I was and am still taken aback by how wonderfully nuanced this film is with regard to class, caste and gender.
Even more interesting to see was how love gets constructed and produced at the intersections of these and what happens to it when these variables change. I saw this film a day after a rather painful conversation with some ‘posh’ ’empowered’ people around how marriage in India is now being changed through love. Seriously!! As someone who shoots weddings, for a living, it amazes me how love in India always finds its own caste. In the past seven years I have been shooting I have never once shot an inter-caste wedding. Inter-religion yes but inter-caste no. And yet when relationships fail to take off, when unrequited love becomes a personal failing, when heteronormativity defines your sexuality and sexual life – caste has always been kept out of the picture. This film changes that and brings caste into the centre, radically re-arranging how we understand love letting free its political possibilities. It is truly a rendering of what Ambedkar suggested as a way of beating the caste system – through inter-caste marriages (can be expanded through queer readings to include any kind of relationships, a coming together).
You can read more about Nagraj Manjule, the director of the film here:
For the context you can read more here: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/a-time-to-love-and-a-time-to-die/
Trailer for the film: