Despite all the claims of progress, women all over the globe are still struggling for basic human rights. One of the many powerful ways through which women’s issues are reaching the common people is popular culture. These days music, movies and television shows have started incorporating women-centric issues to shed light on how women have been exploited through the centuries.

Anahita’s Law, a short film directed, produced and performed by filmmaker Oorvazi Irani does the same. In the form of a monologue, the film raises pertinent questions about women in today’s society.

The film takes its title from the ancient Persian Goddess, the mythological deity Anahita, who is the deity of water, fertility, healing and wisdom. Anahita’s Law is an attempt to redefine a woman’s identity in the 21st century, at this crucial moment in history and question certain fundamental beliefs and perceptions that exist in India’s patriarchal society.

Synopsis

The film starts with Anahita explaining the birth of the universe and with that the birth of the womb- the only source for the origin of life. “The womb was woman and she was Anahita”. She continues to tell us that Anahita is the very spirit of water, the bringer of wisdom and the sole originator of time and life.

“Son of man, who gave you birth?”

Anahita then goes on to explain how history has been blind to womankind’s faith and how man isn’t responsible for creation; it is the woman who holds all the truth. “What good is a man’s seed without a womb” Anahita speaks as the camera zooms in to take a close-up shot of her watery eyes.

As the end nears, she approaches us to “weigh in on the side of law” and to “emancipate to this country”. She goes on to declare that if she can’t do it with the backing of law, she will do it with the backing of hysteria.

The film then unfolds to reveal stories of three different characters. The first tale is of a woman named Khurshed who narrates the injustices of her fate, as she bemoans a society that has no place for women who conceive babies outside wedlock, especially children of mixed religions. A story of the pre-independence era, one could fathom her struggle coupled with a moving description and her hauntingly beautiful eyes, as images begin to imprint themselves in our brain.

Irani goes on to narrate another story on a similar theme, this one being about a Parsee woman named Bakhtawar, a lawyer, who marries a Hindu man with the surname Patel. She talks about the unfairness in the current world at the same time being optimistic about reforms such as the Uniform Civil Code.

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Equality for All

The movie reaches its end on a powerful note as Irani says “I no longer want women to be treated as inferior to their brothers, I no longer want Muslim women to be divorced at the whims of their husbands”. She continues her third tale narrating an incident of a Hindu priest banishing her children from entering the temple because of their religion.  She demands a law that is capable of establishing an egalitarian society irrespective of religion.

As the end nears, she approaches us to “weigh in on the side of law” and to “emancipate to this country”. She goes on to declare that if she can’t do it with the backing of law, she will do it with the backing of hysteria. Irani implies that while men have always claimed women to be the meeker, inferior sex, they will one day take over the world. She will claim back what is hers and the much popular prophecy  “The meek shall inherit the earth” will come true.

Feature Image: Screengrab from the short film Anahita’s Law

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Snigdha is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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