Pink Saris is a documentary film about the extraordinary and outspoken activist Samoat Pal who founded the gulabis, otherwise known as the pink gang. Dedicating her life to fighting social injustice, and helping young lower caste women in rural India, accompanied by her accordingly attired followers, Pal confronts communities, facing up to people who have abused women and valued their lives as worthless, posing questions on subjects that are either avoided or routinely ignored.
Directed by Kim Longinotto, the film is aesthetically interesting giving the audience a multifaceted insight into abuse, injustice and responsibility. As the film runs its course Longinotto allows the contradictions within Pal’s character to become apparent. Relishing the limelight, her declaration “I am a messiah for women”, is a statement in definite contradiction to her overarching quest to emancipate women by breaking the shackles of custom and tradition.
Born into a low caste, married as a child and abused by her in-laws, Pal fled the family home plunging herself into a period of extreme poverty and isolation. Experience and approach gives weight to her activism, asking a man who had routinely raped and abused his daughter-in-law, “do you know what domestic violence is?” she gives language to traditionally unspoken abuses. This language thus facilitates a shift in consciousness, inspires discussion and forces people to acknowledge responsibility.
Author: Diane Prayle