This Bhojpuri Short Film Is Challenging Gender Roles

Ujjwal Pandey, a young and promising director from Varanasi has made a Bhojpuri short film “Kohabar”. This 10 minute long short film has so many good things to talk about. Its premise, the melodious songs and its very name, Kohabar, are things worth talking about. The actors, Raju Upadhyay as the groom and Manisha Rai as the bride has done a good job. The intention of the short film and the message it conveys makes it worth watching.

This short film makes a strong point against the gender stereotyping and the gender roles that has been specified in our patriarchal society. It challenges the established social norms which expects men and women to be bound with a different duties in a marriage. It is expected of a man to be able to earn for his family and for a woman to be only concerned with household chores. Such specified gender roles do not make sense in today’s world. This kind of patriarchal set up has been challenged and somewhat broken in the urban India but it remains to be the same in rural regions. And the rural set up of the shorth film takes this issue to the grass root level.

Along with this commendable message, this short film highlights another important issue and that is about the marital relationships of people who are differently abled or have special needs. People with such special needs are considered unfit for marriage by the society. They are expected to marry another person with disability. This kind of marriage becomes a sort of compromise instead of being a bond of love. This issue is something that has not been addressed as well as it should have been and Ujjwal Pandey’s short film deserves an applaud for addressing this issue in such beautiful way.

Now coming to the cultural connect of this film. This short film takes it’s name Kohabar from a very old marriage ritual that has its origin from the Maithili region of Bihar. “Kohabar ghar” which means nuptial chamber is the room of the house where newly wed couples live for few days.

The walls of the room is adorned by auspicious Kohabar paintings depicting various symbols for union. The themes of these painting is love and prosperity and these are believed to be a blessing for the couples for a happy married life. With the advent of a fast paced urban world where weddings are just about a pompous and superficial display of wealth, this ancient ritual have become very rare and limited to weddings in rural regions. But this short film does a great job in remembering this rare and forgotten aspect of our rich heritage.

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― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

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