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The World Before Her

World Before Her

Winner of the Best Documentary award at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and named Best Canadian Feature Documentary at the 2012 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, director Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her is a provocative and insightful portrait of a country in transition, brilliantly capturing the choices and conflicts facing young women in India today.

Pahuja gained access to women and their families living in two very different worlds. Young, beautiful and ambitious, Ankita and Rhui are competing in the Miss India pageant for the chance at a career in the beauty industry — one of the few avenues where contemporary Indian women can find success and empowerment. Winning the coveted title means instant stardom, a potentially lucrative career, and freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum from Ankita and Rhui is Durga Vahini, a member of the women’s wing of the Hindu fundamentalist movement, in which young girls undergo physical combat training while learning how to behave as
obedient Hindu women. The camp is run by Prachi, a fiery and compelling woman who expresses a unique viewpoint within the debate over contemporary women’s issues.

Intertwining these two radically different narratives, Pahuja highlights the tension between traditional and modern perspectives toward women in today’s India, and draws unexpected parallels between them in the way these women are regarded and the opportunities that are afforded them at both extremes, depicting each as sources of both oppression and empowerment. The end result is a rivetingly powerful film — devastating, moving, and ultimately uplifting.


Critical Notes

"Walking a tightrope over a vat of hot-button topics, and boasting plenty of sex appeal with its beauty contestants, this Tribeca prizewinner...speaks to global womanhood, other aspects are more specific to India, but that's what gives the film much of its life and spark." —John Anderson , Variety


Film Information

Director: Nisha Pahuja
Featuring:: Pooja Chopra, Marc Robinson and Ankita Shorey  
Year: 2012
Runtime: 90 
Country: Canada, Germany, USA, United Kingdom
Language: English. Hindi
Distributor: KinoSmith Inc.
Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR



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