Regional Films Surrogacy Portrayal: Surrogacy is a sensitive topic to talk about and with Bollywood waking up just right now to this issue, here are five regional films that chose to explore this theme way before than Bollywood.
Mala Aai Vahhaychy!
Mala Aai Vahhaychy! which means “I want to be a mother” is an Indian film in Marathi language produced and directed by Samruoddhi Porey back in 2011 itself. The film got a lot of critical acclaim and even won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi in 2011. The upcoming Kriti Sanon-Pankaj Tripathi starrer Mimi is actually the Hindi remake of this Marathi movie.
The story deals with the rapidly growing surrogacy practices in India where women are used as surrogates by foreigners. The film is an emotional drama narrating the story of one such surrogate mother who bears a foreigner’s child. Mary visits India looking for a suitable surrogate to bear her child. And she finds Yashoda, a poor woman who accepts her offer. But Mary gets disappointed on learning about the child’s deformity. Will Mary accept the child? The film is a rollercoaster ride traversing the legal and emotional battle for the child between the blood mother and the birth mother. And it’s a must watch.
Dasharatham is a 1989 Indian drama film in Malayalam language. The film tackled the subject of surrogacy back then when it was a big deal to discuss such subjects in the society. But Malayalam cinema in known for being ahead of its times, so here we are. Dasharatham is widely recognised as one of the best films from the writer-director duo Lohithadas-Sibi Malayil. Lohithadas even won the Kerala Film Critics Award for the Best Screenwriter for this film.
The storyline goes like this: Rajeev, an orphan who also happens to be an eccentric millionaire, has his own strange taste towards everything. With negligible knowledge about family relationships, he struggles hard to achieve his aim of becoming a father without marrying, basically through artificial insemination. The film is about his transformation from a laid-back immature man to somebody sensible, somebody who actually cares. The film explores his emotions through the journey of becoming a father, and for once the focus is on fatherhood in films.
9 Nelalu which means “9 months” is a Telugu drama film which released in 2001. The film was directed by well-known Telugu director Kranthi Kumar who shot the entire movie in just 15 days. The film was also premiered as a retrospective at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is based on the social stigma attached to artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood.
Surendra, an intelligent computer programmer marries Savitri, an orphan. In a climatic turn of events, Surendra encounters an accident and sustains a serious head injury. Now he needs to undergo an operation which requires a major amount of money. A lady doctor suggests Savitri to get pregnant through artificial insemination for a rich man, whose wife is impotent, and give birth to their child in exchange for monetary remuneration. Will Savitri agree to surrogacy to save her husband’s life?
Kookh is a 2016 Gujarati film directed by Nimesh Desai which again revolves around the subject of surrogacy. The story is set in Anand, Gujarat, also known as the “Baby Factory of India” whereby there’s a clinic that specializes in artificial insemination treatment, giving hope and opportunity to childless couples to become parents through women opting for surrogacy.
It is the story of Rudi, a woman who soughts to surrogacy, to satisfy her survival needs and secure a safe and financially stable future for her child Mithi. However, the climax marks a whirlpool of emotions unfurling with the tragic death of Mithi. Rudi completely loses control of the situation, feeling devastated to death. The movie very sensitively and delicately captures the trajectory of Rudi becoming a mother after Mithi’s death. Promising and captivating, the story is bound to keep you on the edge and make you feel the finer nuances of motherhood, thus connecting an emotional chord with the film and its distinct characters.
Sunyo Je Kol
Sunyo Je Kol which means “the empty lap” is a beautiful Bengali film which released in 2016. This was the directorial debut of Bhaswati Roy and, the story, screenplay, dialogues and direction of the film were all single-handedly done by her. Sumi, a 25-year-old woman who maintains her family by giving private tuitions, suddenly decides to become a surrogate mother to pay for her six-year-old nieces heart surgery, but pays a heavy price for it. Sumi’s boyfriend severs ties with her, society rejects her and her tuitions are discontinued. And when the baby is born and she has to hand him over to the client couple, she feels the heart-wrenching pain of separation. It’s definitely worth a watch.