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Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal

The Incessant Fear of Rape

India 2018
produced by
Aditya Kripalani, Sweta Chhabria Kripalani for Mumba Devi Motion Pictures
directed by Aditya Kripalani
starring Shalini Vatsa, Chitrangada Chakraborty, Sonal Joshi, Kritika Pande, Vinay Sharma, Ahmareen Anjum, Komal Chhabria, Manish Nawani, Aditya Kripalani, Sikandra Kumar, Vishal Arya, Anushree Kushwaha, Mia Maelzer
written by Aditya Kripalani, music by Rajiv Singh

review by
Mike Haberfelner

It all starts one evening when Vibha (Shalini Vatsa) and her younger sister Surmayee (Ahmareen Anjum) walk home from from a party one night and are attacked by a group of men intent of having their way with them. Vibha manages to ward them off, but Surmayee is less lucky and is gangraped, with Vibha being powerless to save her.

Flashforward a few months, when Vibha finds herself in an all-girl taxi with three other women from all walks of life, Chitra (Chitrangada Chakraborty), Shagun (Sonal Joshi) and Shaila (Kritika Pande) - and all of a sudden, the four of them are approached by a guy, Mahendra (Vinay Sharma) with very obvious intentions and unwilling to accept no for an answer. And since he feels it's his prerogative as a man, he even tries to resort to violence to get his way - but the four women knock him out. And this is when their idea is born, if they have to live in fear of being raped every night, why not put the same fear into all Indian men by producing a video in which they are preparing to rape Mahendra with an iron rod - not that they're really want to go through with the rape, they figure just showing that they can and that they actually might should put fear in all males prone on getting a bit too fresh.

But before they shoot the video they figure they need to break Mahendra's will, by locking him into a narrow locker, not allowing him toilet breaks, feeding him like an animal, making him wear women's clothes and serving them like a slave. At first, Mahendra shows resistance, but the women are not likely to let that fly and counter with various degrees of violence, so he gives in more and more.

Thing is, not all women enjoy this equally: Vibha just things she's on a just quest and does the right thing, but Chitra, a gangrape victim herself, wants to actually have revenge on Mahendra in lieu of the men who raped her, and Shaila actually sympathizes to a degree with Mahendra, as she's not cut out for this kind of thing. So how will they pull through, and if they do, what will be the consequences?

 

First of all, one of course has to applaud the movie for its anti-rape female empowerment message, that should actually go without saying. But what really makes The Incessant Fear of Rape is that it doesn't just try to hammer its message home and deliver its story in a self-righteous way but instead turning its basic plot - in a way a torture flick with reversed roles - into a compelling character study that doesn't give any easy answers, and that never 100% condones its heroine's actions (just their intentions), making this an interesting watch. And of course, a well-structured plot, a subtle direction and strong performances also help bringing this to life.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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