A PACKED audience at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre was hosted by The Indian Express Film Club for the screening of 2010 analogy drama Love Sex Aur Dhokha. The film, directed by Dibakar Banerjee, is split into three seamlessly interlinked stories that have honour killing, an MMS scandal and a sting operation at the centre.
“When Banerjee made the film, he presaged a time when we view the world through our lenses and stop looking at people directly. Today, are constantly looking at our screens and if you see in the film, it showed us a world where there is some screen or the other in every frame,” said Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express film critic. “Our smartphones are mediating everything we do. It is now almost becoming an extension of our hand and we are so uncomfortable in case we step out without our phones,” she added.
The camera was at the centre stage of the discussion and the film, too, which is shot with a handycam, hand-held cameras and spy cameras by photographer Niko Andritsakis. The stories are told from the point of view of the camera. Members of the audience shared how they feel they are constantly being watched in this day and age, with so many cameras around. “A single woman living alone is this city is surrounded by cameras or eyes of the people who feel their routine is disturbed if a middle-aged woman is coming home late,” said Ismat Ara, adding she felt that the third woman in the film did not seem like a victim of the narrative. “It was empowering to see that she knew that her sexuality is a currency in today’s world and she knew how to use it,” she added.
“I saw the film when it released and wondered if I should watch it again as it is so shocking and dark. Seeing Banerjee’s other films, I can say he is a filmmaker of darkness, and has a made a brilliant film showing the underbelly of Delhi,” said Taposh Chakravarty, another audience member.
“It speaks about the concept of the casting couch and how struggling artists are exploited by big names and people in authority in the industry. This all we have been hearing about since the past few weeks and that brings us to the #MeToo movement,” said Gupta, adding, “So far, we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. A lot more names and stories are yet to come out in the public domain.”