Pink Saris (2010) Poster

(2010)

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Fascinating and entertaining
byrontully200019 March 2012
We here at Indie Friendlie watched "Pink Saris" and really enjoyed it. Yes, it's disturbing to see the poverty in this part of India, but the resilience of the people, especially the women, is remarkable and inspiring.

What we found surprising about this film is the entertainment value in watching a group of women (one woman, actually, and her posse) call out men who've been abusing their wives and/or daughters.

These women are fearless and I definitely would not want to be on the receiving end of the verbal tsunami that gets unleashed on these men.

We highly recommend this documentary and congratulate the filmmakers for tackling a tough, seemingly impossible, subject: how women continue to be treated in India.
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7/10
Pink Saris
JohnSeal31 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Director Kim Longinotto (a specialist in films about women's issues, including 1998's excellent Divorce Iranian Style) takes a look at female vigilantes in this utterly fascinating and thoroughly unusual documentary. Filmed in India, the film records the exploits of a woman named Sampat Pal Devi, defender of women's rights and stern leader of the organization known as the Gulabi Gang. Sampat has no time for patriarchy, custom, or religion (and not a great deal for her higher-caste husband either), and fights the good fight on behalf of the wronged (and frequently very young) women of Uttar Pradesh, one of India's largest and most important provinces. Longinotto's film makes it clear that while Sampat is no saint, she's struggling against enormous odds to build a more just and more equitable society in her homeland. Occupy Saris, anyone?
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6/10
Amazing woman
evening121 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Here is a portrait unlike any I've encountered in fictional or documentary film.

Sampat Pal Devi, an "untouchable" in her mid-60s, has devoted herself to fighting the abuse of women in Uttar Pradesh, where you're as likely to see an ox-drawn cart as a motorcycle on one of the area's dusty dirt roads.

Wearing her trademark pink sari, Sampat has found a calling rescuing child brides who have been beaten, starved, raped, or otherwise abused by their in-laws.

Laws exist to protect these waifs but until Sampat came along, apparently no one believed they should be enforced. So it's been up to Sampat to rescue these kids and then hector the police into punishing their aggressors.

This fly-on-the-wall documentary sheds little light on how the queenly Sampat managed to get so brave. She does seem to gain something personally through her interventions; as she dabs the eyes of her often-suicidal wards, she seems eager to heal from having been married off at 12 and later reduced to selling tea on the street to support her kids.

The portrait isn't all rosy. In one segment, Sampat secretly returns one of her girls to the home where she had been beaten -- seemingly as part of some kind of tribal swap. This apparent lapse of ethical judgment triggers Sampat's breakup with her higher-caste boyfriend, Babuji, who accurately targets some of Sampat's failings. But she's dismissive and defensive toward him, showing no openness to psychological thinking despite the emotional rightness of her campaigns to help others.

This documentary leaves one grateful for not having been born in Uttar Pradesh. Although unmentioned, tourists flock there for the Taj Majal. However, traditions there seem iron-clad in their oppression of women. And it doesn't seem like the men are doing well, either. Groups of them are always milling about as if they have nothing to do. With the notable exception of Sampat herself, most of the villagers who appear in this film appear significantly underfed (as cows mosey through the streets, of course).

I don't like to see anyone oppressed or abused and this film has inspired me. Its protagonist is far from perfect but why should we expect her to be?
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