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A short film sheds light on domestic violence and its lingering impact

🔴 Pune-based filmmaker Deepti Ghatge has made a five-minute on domestic abuse titled 'Swamaan Se' (With Dignity), which won the special jury mention at the 14th Jaipur International Film Festival on January 7.

Written by Ashish Chandra | Pune |
Updated: January 16, 2022 10:10:53 am
Deepti Ghatge has made a five-minute film on domestic abuse, titled Swamaan Se (With dignity), which won the Special Jury Mention at the 14th Jaipur International Film Festival on January 7. (Representational)

After the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced in March 2020, the National Commission for Women received 1,477 complaints of domestic violence in 68 days, a 1.5 time increase from the 607 complaints received between March and May the year before.

“This data does not include the countless cases that go unreported. In India, one out of every three women is hit by a man she loves and trusts in the safety of her own home, or she is mentally or emotionally abused,” says Pune-based filmmaker Deepti Ghatge who began to “think about the subject and conceive a story that speaks about it”.

She has made a five-minute film on domestic abuse titled ‘Swamaan Se’ (With Dignity), which won the special jury mention at the 14th Jaipur International Film Festival on January 7, 2022.

It was officially selected in the Golden Short Film Festival, Rome, California Women’s Short Film Festival, and Tokyo International Short Film Festival.

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The film revolves around a woman who is hesitant to bless her sister at her wedding as she wonders if her sister would have to endure a similar fate as her. “The story is not based on any person or incident and is entirely fictional,” says Ghatge, adding that one of her earliest encounters with domestic violence happened more than 20 years ago.

“Early one morning, I saw a woman from a well-to-do family sitting by the side of the road in skimpy night clothes. She looked shell-shocked and it was a horrifying sight for me. By the time I came down from my home to ask if she needed assistance, she had disappeared. It left a deep impact on me and I wondered what had happened to her that she had to leave her house in that state so early in the morning or whether she was there all night,” she adds.

The film, which was shot at Turf Club “where we could use a small part of the open space for the wedding scene” shows how it is a challenge for women in India to report domestic abuse or seek help. “Her whole family and life are at stake. If she speaks out, it can come right back at her. A woman generally thinks about her children first and wonders how they would live, especially if she is not financially independent,” says Ghatge.

Financing the movie was a challenge for the filmmaker not only due to the Covid situation but also because social awareness movies are commercially not viable. Finally, FICCI FLO (women’s wing of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) supported her in making the film.

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