DEEPA MEHTA’S new film on domestic violence premiered at the Toronto film festival. There were two reasons the trailers caught my eye. Firstly, because the abusive man is played by Vansh Bharadwaj who I’ve seen in Neelam Mansingh’s terrific play, The Suit, which played here in Bangalore twice in the last year. I loved his rendition of the cuckolded husband turned manic. The second reason is because it reminded me so much of Provoked, the last Indian film on domestic violence. The context seems very similar. Simple, sheltered Pujabi girl is married off to NRI abusive husband and then finds her escape. I don’t know what it says — that domestic violence thrives in certain contexts more than others? Or that film-makers tend to find that context interesting for some reason — perhaps, because there is escape of some sort possible, after all? Anyway, here is a look at the trailer…
“Bell Bajao” (Ring the Bell) urges men to take a stand against domestic violence. One out of every three women faces violence behind closed doors, so whether it’s ringing a door bell to stop a crime, or speaking out, make sure you’re doing your part to ensure women and families in your communities are living free of violence. It’s about time we all stop being silent witnesses.
The campaign website has some interesting stuff — a blog you can contribute to, advertisements, ideas for community intervention and some videos. What is interesting is that it talks to men about taking action against domestic violence that they see around them. Here’s one of the videos:
The media campaign has been released in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and created pro bono by Ogilvy & Mather. Breakthrough also has is in its ‘toolkit’ other videos like the one below which I thought was interesting for its use of an identifiable and sympathetic situation with a popular song to talk about the issue.
So here’s a question: do you think advertisements, music videos, films can play a role in changing or affecting popular perception? Do you you think they can really inspire people to do something? Or do they remain in the realm of ‘nice to watch’ but ate forgotten once the next tv commercial comes along? What role, if any, can they play?