Saankal (transl. Shackle) is a 2015 Indian Hindi-language social problem film written and directed by Dedipya Joshii about a custom followed in a village in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan: Women are forced to marry boys to keep marriages within the community. The cast includes Chetan Sharma, Tanima Bhattacharya, Harish Kumar, Jagat Singh, Samarth Shandilya and Milind Gunaji.
The film depicts how tradition can bring a drastic change in normal life. In middle of the Thar Desert, there was a village surrounded by its own rituals, taboos and social obligations. Long before partition, some village councils passed ordinances after which a so-called base born community banished girls from getting married in other communities but the choice of marrying girls outside their community was still open for boys, the idea behind this law was to maintain purity in their blood. Any divergence from the law resulted in violence.
After 1947, India-Pakistan partition, many of these villages from India went to Pakistan, even then crossing borders and arranging marriages continued for a few years but due to government interventions a day came when they had completely lost connections with their relatives across the border. Consequently, number of marriageable males went even lower for their girls. Now most of those lived rest of their life unmarried or were forced to marry old men. By the time village councils felt the disaster it was too late. Instead of uprooting the cause they passed another law in panic which was a solution in their view but they didn’t foresee that this will make situation worse only.
Boys were still allowed to marry girls from other community but girls in their own community were aging. Worried by this, the leaders decided that, for the sake of keeping women within the clan, mature women were forced to marry male children. Their belief was that in this way daughters of their community won’t go outside; but boys like Kesar (11 years) and women like Abeera (26 years) became victims of this malpractice. The ill effects of this tradition have been conveyed through this film.
Chetan Sharma as Kesar (Teen)
Tanima Bhattacharya as Abeera
Harish Kumaar as Usmaniya
Jagat Singh as Kesar (Young)
Samarth Shandilya as Kesar (Kid)
Milind Gunaji as Apoorva Shingh Bhati
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