Analysis of the Aspect of Intersectionality in the Movie Sairat


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Here, the film has been analysed on the basis of intersectionality that can be seen in the film. The term intersectionality was first coined by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 in her seminal paper named “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antiracist Politics”. Intersectionality refers to the interconnection of various groups like caste, gender, race and class. The film shows how a low-caste boy falls in love with an upper-caste girl and them getting married to each other. This phenomenon is known as Hypogamy or Pratiloma. This type of caste exogamy practice is highly restricted in the couple’s village and, therefore, get murdered in the name of honour killing. The thought behind this honour killing is that the inter-caste marriage leads to “caste impurity”. The following are some other points that can be critically pointed out:

The protagonist, Archi, is shown to be strong, commanding and exhibiting the masculine behaviours like riding bullet and tractor in first half of the film. In a scene, she is shown to be warning her school teacher who intervenes her while she is staring at Parshya in an ongoing class. In another scene, she is also shown warning her cousin, Mangya, who was pounding and threatening Parshya when he finds out his affair with Archi. All these scenes and behaviours of Archi shows her as a dominating character, reflecting the supremacy of her caste and class. On the other hand, Parshya’s nature is shown to be shy, vulnerable, submissive, doing stuffs serving food to guests and helping Akka in cooking and cleaning. These characteristics reflects of him belonging to a low-caste and low-class status.

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After running away from their village, Archi is shown as working outside home (in a bottle factory). However, in her upper-caste home, her mother is shown to be engaged in household related works and her working outside home is restricted. Also, her participation in decision making in her family is negligible. Even Archi didn’t have much voice in her family’s decision-making process. On the other hand, in Parshya’s family, his mother and sister both were shown selling fish in the market. Parshya’s sister had part in decision-making in her family. This depicts the fact that the upper-caste women are assigned with the functions of reproduction and doing domestic activities while the lower caste women did household duties and also worked outside the home (Chakravarti, 2003).

When Archi’s father finds out about her relationship with a low-caste boy, he immediately stops her education and decides to get her married within his own caste to maintain the “caste purity”. This shows that her freedom to education, freedom to step out of house, her dominating and strong nature, all these were possible because of her “sexual purity”. Once her family realizes her sexual purity to be in danger (when she is caught kissing Parshya), all her privileges are taken away by her family and is abused, gets captivated by them and in the end is murdered in name of honour killing. Even Parshya, in a scene, is shown doubting Archi’s sexual purity when she goes out for a movie with her boss. This shows how sexual purity of a woman plays a major role in a patriarchal family. Women’s sexuality is under the control of patriarchy and caste which gets transferred from her father to her husband (Chakravarti, 2003).

Another aspect of the film that can be noticed in the film is the control of education by the upper castes. The monopoly over knowledge remained in the hands of the brahmanas and the low-caste people were restricted from such privileges (Chakravati, 2003). Uma Chakravarti has said that, “women too were barred from knowledge, especially from sacred knowledge”.

In the movie, it can be seen that Archi is given the right to education by sending her to school and college, while Parshya’s sister was not seen going to school or college for her education. Therefore, upper-caste women dominated in the field of education than the low caste women as this gave the upper castes the social power which can only be maintained if the low-caste women were deprived of education.

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