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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lessons in Forgetting - The Film


Lessons in Forgetting to reach theaters by April 19th 2013


Renowned Indian author Anita Nair’s novel ‘Lessons in Forgetting’ has been made into a motion picture by Arowana studios. Directed by Unni Vijayan, the movie will be released by PVR cinemas on 19th April.  It has been featured at various international film festivals and has been noted for its strong script and its relevance in the present day Indian society.

The movie is set in coastal Tamil Nadu where a group of youngsters arrive to perform a street play against female foeticide. The team includes the protagonist named Smriti Krishnamurthy who is bold and committed to the cause. She is liberal in her dressing which raises many an eyebrow in the backward village. Apart from the culture shock, she begins to receive unnecessary attention from young men from the village, which alarms her group members. She does not change her way of dressing in spite of their warnings. These instances make us reflect about the extent of objectification of women and the refusal of man to acknowledge her personality and opinions instead of judging her based on her appearance.

The movie also depicts deep rooted patriarchy in the villages that renders women voiceless in major family decisions- particularly in family planning.

The story takes a turn when her father, played by Adil Hussain learns about her situation and arrives at the village to know the reason behind it. His search is depicted like a puzzle which he solves by meeting people who knew his daughter and gathering information. The intricacies of relationships have been dealt with maturity.


‘Lessons in forgetting’ is not just about a father’s search for truth affecting his daughter; it is a search for millions of girl children who died at the hands of a sick social setup. It is about women who are punished for non conformity with the levels of pseudo morality. It is a quest to make us rethink about our social values and realize the extent of damage we have done to our society by disturbing the gender balance.

The significance of the above topics are confirmed by the events that continue to take place in our society, particularly the Delhi incident, where a young woman ended up in coma and later died following a brutal gangrape inside a moving bus.  Delving into the reasons can easily prove that the reasons behind such attacks are not different. Our society is not yet ready to face liberated and bold women.  There are real life instances of women being raped for protesting against gender specific abortions

‘Lessons in Forgetting’ succeeds in garnering attention to many issues like society, gender issues, patriarchy and morality among others. The director Unni Vijayan has expressed his mastery over the medium of cinema. The background score is touching and the camera has been handled artistically. In short, it is a work that deserves attention today.