The World Before Her explores the very distinct, very disconcerting universes of the Miss India pageant on the one hand and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s women’s wing, Durga Vahini on the other. On the surface they tell the stories of two different Indias but when you look hard, at length, similarities begin to surface. Both these spaces are inhabited by women seeking to carve a space out for themselves in a near misogynist society. Both these spaces are run by people seeking to colonise the woman’s body and use it as a tool to further a patriarchal agenda in the guise of offering them tentative independence.

The documentary was released in select theatres across the country after winning laurels at the Tribeca (Best Documentary Feature), Traverse City (Best Foreign Film), Warsaw (Special Mention, Documentary Competition), Guantanamo (Special Mention) and San diego Asian (Special jury Award) Film Festivals and winning Best Canadian Feature at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (North America’s largest). Viewers and critics have lauded the film and director Nisha Pahuja is all set to take it to an even wider audience now. At this critical point in the journey of the film we asked Pahuja two important questions. (each question jumps to the corresponding video segment above)


  •  1) What is the real aim of a film like this? Can all the energy generated from the responses to the film be harnessed for a more sustained, fruitful dialogue on gender rights in India? .
  •  2) What are some of the ethical and moral dilemmas Pahuja dealt with while making the film? .


Her answers are fascinating and thought-provoking.


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The World Before Her

Video Interview
June 2014
By Pragya Tiwari

Pragya Tiwari is Editor-in-Chief at The Big Indian Picture