The World Before Her: Film Review – A riveting tale about the culture clash in India

Documentaries are often dubbed “dull” or “boring”. The World Before Her is the perfect film to disprove anyone who may believe this notion.



The World Before Her tells the story of two very different women from India.


The first protagonist is Ruhi Singh, a participant in the 2011 Miss India pageant. Ruhi, who is in it to win it, believes that the pageant is her path to liberation. Though she hails from a small town, Ruhi is a modern girl who stops at nothing to achieve her goal. Sadly, for the Miss India aspirants, ambition often translates into meeting unrealistic expectations. We’re given a glimpse of how the contestants are subjected to cosmetic surgeries and treated like pieces of meat.

Prachi Trivedi is her polar opposite. She is the leader of a Hindu nationalist group that opposes westernization. She even goes so far as to advocate intolerance and violence. However, she quietly bears physical abuse from her father, claiming that she was lucky her parents decided to raise her – a girl child.

Though both women try their best to fight the system, they realize that they’re victims of it too.

The documentary also follows Chinmayee, Ankita, Shweta and Pooja Chopra (Pantaloons Femina Miss India World 2009), who are a part of Ruhi and Prachi’s lives. The women frequently face a dilemma between what they ought to do and what they want to do. The World Before Her sheds light on topics like sexism, culture clashes, infanticide, fundamentalism and societal norms.

Though both main characters are nothing alike, they do have two things in common – their relatability and their desire to make a difference. They go about it in different ways, each of which makes you root for them. Ruhi and Prachi, who are both charming protagonists, carry this documentary on their shoulders. The passion that fuels them is admirable, making their tales touching.

It also helps that the film is expertly edited. It features many quick cuts between the Miss India pageant and the Durga Vahini camp. The scenes are intertwined in a way that highlights the dichotomy in our country. In the course of all these events, The World Before Her also manages to showcase the similarities between these two scenarios.

The docu-drama tackles a variety of untapped topics in just 90 minutes. In fact, it manages to do this without there ever being a dull moment. The World Before Her also features beautiful melodies by Ken Myhr, making it the complete package.

Why should you watch this film?
The World Before Her follows two fascinating women, who attempt to bring about a change in their own way. It is recommended for anyone looking for an entertaining film that also gets the viewers thinking.

 

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