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Indian film ‘Sir’ tackles class barriers

First-time feature director Rohena Gera also acknowledged the difficulties for a woman to make movies in a predominantly male world

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A love story between a wealthy young Mumbai businessman and a countrywoman who comes to work as his servant will challenge Indians’ preconceptions about class, said first-time feature director Rohena Gera as she presented her film in Cannes.

Sir is not typical Bollywood fare, as it shines a light on social prejudice and gender roles. The two characters do not get to explore their possible feelings for one another as social norms put a romantic relationship out of reach.

“I think at least in India it will probably make people quite uncomfortable,” Gera told Reuters.

“I think that’s a good thing because I think it begs the question: why are you uncomfortable? ... If we raise those questions and we start talking about it, I think we can take a step to actually resolving some of it.” Gera, whose film screened in Critics’ Week, a side-event of the Cannes Film Festival, acknowledged the difficulties for a woman to make movies in a predominantly male world.

“Sometimes we are all interested in what we’re interested in, men or women, and when men are decision-makers they tend to decide what is interesting for all of us,” she said.

Sir received broadly positive reviews, with Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Mintzer saying that despite as times feeling more televisual than cinematic, “Gera has nonetheless crafted a warmly nuanced look at love in a place filled with constraints and contradictions”.

The Cannes Film Festival runs until May 19.

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