Silence- short film by Nupur Mathur
Nupur Mathur participated in Blank Noise in 2003, when the project had just started. She along with eight other students of Srishti School of Art Design and Technology were participants of workshops I facilitated over 3 months. At that time I was graduating and Nupur was in her first year.
Nupur writes about her film:
Silence is my first fiction film. The script for Silence was developed from an incident that happened to me a few years back. I was returning home from a tiring day at college. Frustrated, I just wanted to get home, on the way however, a little beggar child kept tugging at my clothes and interrupting my walk home. Eventually I turned around and harshly brushed her away saying leave me alone, I’m not going to give you anything. It turned out that the little girl wanted no money, rather wanted to give me a flower. I’m not sure why she wanted to give me this small white flower she had in her hand, but I was so overwhelmed by my stupidity and arrogance that I walked away rather than embracing the humble gesture.
After this incident I started to think about feminism and growing up. Of how the gaze of a man shifts as you grow up. The little girl I once was, was carefree, a tom boy who would hang out with the boys, ride cycles, cut my hair short, talk to strangers etc. I still however, looked at my older cousin sisters and wanted to wear sari’s and dress up and look beautiful. The day did come when it started to change. Puberty kicked in and I changed and continue to do so.
The original idea of Silence, which probably would have been called something else, was to explore these lost freedoms because of growing up, because of the way the world is. The little girl was me as a child and the older girl is me now. The little girl however, aspires to be one day, what the young woman is. The young woman however is subjected to the world outside, the male gaze and attention she’d rather not have, at least in the situation I put the young woman in.
I chose to not have the protagonist react to the incident in the bus because I think that mostly that is what happens. When faced with harassment in a public space, especially if you are alien to the people around you and different from them, you end up feeling helpless. It is a feeling where one does not know what to say or do. It is only through an afterthought; after the shock gives way to rage that one finds strength. I feel like men have a certain power over women in our society, this ‘silent arrangement,’ that has come into being is what women have to question.
Posted by J at 3.7.07