Nandita Das’s ‘Listen to her’ is a commentary on rising domestic violence due to lockdown and decaying patricentric norms.
“Whisper … Speak … Shout.
Your Voice Will be Heard!”
Actor-director Nandita Das released a short film ‘Listen to her’ highlighting the rising cases of domestic violence due to lockdown as a response to fight COVID-19 pandemic. The 7 minutes long film is supported by UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, and the South Asia Foundation (Madanjeet Singh Foundation).
Featuring Das, the film starts with her constantly juggling between a zoom call, an invisible husband who is absorbed in videos and her son. When she finally sits down to resume her work, she receives a phone call from an unknown number for a desperate cry for help.
The film deals with two very prominent aspects; domestic violence and the doubled-up burden on women who are muddling through both work and household chores. In these already stressful times, how women are encumbered continuously with patriarchal norms, emotional, physical, and unfair gender roles of parenting. The film draws a subtle picture of how women regardless of their social and financial privilege, are a victim of patricentric society.
On a telephonic interview with a leading news portal, Das said that the film was initially named as ‘Bol’ since it was about speaking up. However, most do not speak up, as there is nobody ready to listen. Hence, she changed the title to ‘Listen to her’.
The UN agency for sexual and reproductive health (UNFPA) has estimated that there would be 31 million more cases of domestic violence worldwide if lockdowns continue for another six months.
As scary as that sounds, here in India, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has raised an urgent alert about the increasing number of domestic violence cases which includes emotional abuse, sexual assault, humiliations, and intimidation.
Watch the film here: