NSW Police Service releases two short films on Dowry abuse in Australia

Two short films on dowry abuse as one of the cause in DV cases in Australia were premiered on October 28 at Auburn Reading cinemas

By Neena Badhwar

Tentacles of a custom of India, the famous dowry culture which is actually illegal in India is slowly seeping in to Australia where one, it is not illegal and second, the police doesn’t even know that such extortionist practice can be one of the cause into several domestic violence cases  that are happening in the Indian community here.

Financial pressure and the related abuse that is heaped on girls in the name of dowry ending up in toxic situations can leave them simply ruined financially and emotionally scarred. Instead of a marriage where there are expectations of love, bonding and a promise of a life lived together, some of the girls have ended up all bruised, physically, emotionally as well as financially.  For some it has been a journey of sheer hell.

Two very apt short films  ‘Say No To Dowry Abuse’ by local film makers Taufeeq Ahmed Sheikh and Pankaj Upadhyay were recently premiered at Auburn Reading cinemas on October 28 where NSW Police officers were present. Shorts they may be but hit the point home in a big way and a realisation that dowry can be a contributing factor to DV in some marriages.  To all who who saw the films it was an emotional roller coaster ride that such form of abuse is happening here in Australia.

Well perhaps the police is not aware that not only the practice, this so-called extortion, is an ill of our society which is now taking root here and the mindset of the boy’s family is based on demanding money in a different form, such as asking to pay for the study of the boy or a house deposit or asking for an expensive car even. When in India demands made on girl’s family are of different nature asking for gold, household goods, jewellery, saris or demanding a five-star wedding receptions all paid for by the girl’s parents.

In Australia, as one is struggling to make a life, the demands take on a different nature, as one settles here, owning a house, a car, bringing family members here become a priority, so the pressures from boy’s side is in a different light than in India.

Says Taufeeq, the director of the films, who came up with the storyline and the scripts, “The films were a challenge and hard work after a lot of deliberation and research on our part as well as talking to Nelly Sinha and her team, Project Manager with the  NSW Police Service, who were fully in this project with us. All the three, namely, Georgina Zaineddine, Nelly Sinha and Rachna Soni as Multicultural Liaison officers fully contributed their views on what happens in DV cases.”

About the films and shooting them during COVID, says Taufeeq, “It was hard. At time we could not have all the actors in a scene to shoot together. You can see that we have actually tried to shoot them separately and then we stitched the scenes together on the editing table.”

Both Pankaj Upadhyay and Taufeeq must be commended for these films which will certainly raise awareness about domestic violence in the Indian community. We all know about DV cases in the Indian community with dowry being one of the main cause, the Indian mindset, but the women in the wider community face DV abuse too reasons of which can be more or less, control through physical, financial or emotional abuse, the same as almost a women a week dies in Australia with many more in abusive relationships running to police for refuge.

Rushi Dave, Suman Mathur and Aparna Tijoriwala

The duo film makers worked hard and were able to extract quality acting from local actors in Aparna Tijoriwala, Suparna Mallick Bobby as the mother-in-laws, Srishti Agarwal and Komal Khubani as brides, Munish Arora and Akshat Gupta as bride grooms, to name a few. All of them local actors, Production Incharge & Behind the Scenes (Ruchir Garg), music (Joy and Mayank), stylist (Shom Pal), lights and sound (Tushar Bose), make up (Sandhya Bose), photography (Kamal Khajuria), worked together in a team effort and a crew that delivered a project which will bring awareness and may be one day that this practice of demanding dowry is made illegal in Australia.

Taufeeq (middle) with Komal Khubani, Munish Arora, Akshat Gupta and Srishti Agarwal

All the film crew and actors were felicitated for their hard work

Pankaj and Taufeeq with Nelly Sinha (4th from left) and Multicultural Liaison officers at the screening

Both the films send out a strong message, says the spokesperson of the Bankstown PACs (Police Area Command), who with her other officers in the end are in the films when they say quite emphatically the line, ‘Say No To Dowry Abuse’ being Indian women themselves as the multicultural officers, understand the dowry culture tradition of India, “For over two years, a team of Multicultural Community Liaison Officers from Bankstown and Auburn PACs have worked on this visual resource addressing the growing concerns around dowry abuse in the sub-continent communities. Dowry-related abuse is often linked to instances of human trafficking and forced marriage, as well as economic and physical abuse in migrant communities.”

Said Taufeeq at the screening, the ‘Dowry Abuse Project’ by the NSW Police Service that was long time in the making due to its sensitivity, “Violence arising from Dowry has resulted in death as the ultimate price paid by the victim while the scars of the same live on in the memories of the families, friends and loved ones for the rest of their lives.”

And Pankaj who shot the films on a shoe string budget, said, “I feel humbled and blessed to be part of this project, as a son, brother, husband and father I feel passionate about the cause.”

Pics. Neena Badhwar and Harmohan Singh Walia of Desi Media.

 

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=15572

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