Silence of rape is deafening in the silent film ”˜White’

By Manju Mittal

Aneek Chaudhari’s silent film on rape titled ”˜White’ was screened at Hoyts Highpoint Sydney on Saturday August 18, 2018.   The film which was earlier screened in Cannes Film Festival in May. White has already made its mark in the international festival scenario with 8 International film festival selections in a period of two months.

The film is a collection analogies of three tales about three women, who suffered rape, but fought back to lead a normal life. The film stars Kaushik Roy and Arjaa Banerjee. This was my second time watching a silent Indian film. White is a film one can only speak of in strong terms. It is surely not an uplifting film, but it is the most powerful Bengali silent film to appear in a very long time. It is a testament of horrific injustice and ultimate injustice, as well, though after seeing this movie the expression ”˜Sexual assault on women’ will leave a sour taste in your mouth.

The first tale of a factory girl getting abused at work and her story of survival; the second story follows a single mother and her inability to face her own child after the heinous crime. This is a story of the child’s upbringing in an orphanage and her return to her childhood home after two decades; and the third and last tale is how a husband accepts a child born out of rape of his wife by another man in the village and gives the child his name.

“I always wanted to convey that brutality against women is not only a problem in India, but women face the same in many other countries. The film is universal. So I ended up making it in a silent medium,” says Aneek, “I wanted a global approach and I believe that a silent film would take away any kind of language barrier from the film.”

Aneek adds. “I began making films back in 2011, and my first short film was one of the finalists at IFFM 2011. So, it feels great when you are back after seven years and this time with a full length feature film. Moreover, this marks a great era in Bengali cinema where six films from the region have been selected for the festival. I feel humbled by the acknowledgment.”

After the Australian screenings, ”˜White’ will be next be a part of Indian film festival in Ireland, Indian film festival of Boston and Balkan Film festival in Sweden in 2019.

”˜White’ is a movie one can describe as harrowing, except that here the word is an understatement. But as you watch, you know that you’re the bearing witness. The film will surely strike a chord and connect with those who have been through this struggle. It also tells the story of relationship and touches sensitive issues in this educational silent film. We highly recommend everyone to watch the film as it is quite a mature and excellent effort by a young Bengali film maker as well as the actors in it.


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