The Saints of Sin: Confessions of seven and a half Bengali women

What happens when seven and half Bengali women from New Delhi to New York come together on camera to confess their “sins” in a brave display of stark emotional vulnerability that is at once personal and endearing? The Saints of Sins happens, giving the audience a refreshing feminist perspective this #IWD2018 on the journey of these bold women who are unafraid to own up to their self-confessed vices in a world that is quick to judge mistakes and brutally apportion blame.

The critically acclaimed documentary that weaves a candid narrative around the seven cardinal sins – envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath – believed to be unforgivable, was very well received by Gurugram’s cultural connoisseurs at the Women’s Day film screening recently at DLF Club 5 thanks to Momspresso, the popular platform for multi-faceted moms.

Directed by Aniruddha Sen, it spoke straight to the awe-struck audience through its expert handling of uncomfortable truths via the voice of women who were not afraid to reveal their identity as they laid bare their tears and broken hearts and human frailties in a show of rare honesty and hard earned emancipation.

“How can we just be what we are and have people love us for that,” was the thought behind The Saints of Sin, said ad pro Swati Bhattacharya, who conceptualized the whole idea. She went on to urge the women in the audience to “invest in girlfriends” who are like “your unpaid shrinks,” because it is through sharing “my experiences with my friends that I have tried to make sense of my own life… and my film is a testimony to the honesty of my relationship with them.”

Talking to News Mobile S. Rati from Phase 2 pointed out that “the portrayal of women in the film was so realistic that they could be anyone from our family or friend circle.” The evocative Bengali songs interspersed into the stories from the evergreen Mayabono Biharini Horini to Nidraheen and Khachar Pakhi rendered in the soulful voices of Bangladeshi singers added to the free flowing lyricism of the script.

Watching the film with her friends Jaya and Madhu, 36-year-old stay at home mom of two Rama, “found resonance in the emotions and experiences of Debbie, Runa, Srila, Gopi, Swati, Shreya, Paro and Pradipta. I found a little bit of me in each of these real life characters, for aren’t we all sinners in our own ways?”

Not every saint, however, has the courage to own her sin.

The film is also a commentary on the deeply entrenched patriarchy in society and its impact on women across strata, and all the characters in the film who are non actors ended up “transforming each others lives” through this collective journey, Swati added.

Everyone in the audience was definitely quite moved by the stories of these seven and a half contemporary urban women. Some even had tears in their eyes as many pondered “how women are quick to feel guilty and blame themselves for everything that goes wrong in their lives,” pointed out corporate executive Jaya, who thinks it’s high time “women value themselves and learn to embrace their shortcomings. The film was quite an eye opener in that respect.”

Already a hit in the festival circuit, The Saints of Sin is actually a tribute to the undying spirit of womanhood neatly summed up in the mellifluous words of the song Amar Poran Bandhibi Kemoney that roughly translate to — you could truss my hands and feet, gag my voice and blindfold me, but how will you stop my spirit from soaring? Indeed!

 

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