Documentary Review:Love in India by Q (Kaushik Mukherjee)

By Nandita Dutta • Published on May 20, 2011

[Love in India won the 58th National Award for “Best Film on Family Values”]

[T]o say that Love in India is outrageous is not an overstatement. The documentary is anything but sweet and innocuous as its title. It’s the ruthless dissection of the moral and cultural fibre of Indian society, and a pretty unabashed one at that. What do you expect of a filmmaker who exposes his personal life before the camera without any qualms? He doesn’t need to mince words when he is talking about the society at large. Here in fact, Q comes up with revelations so stunning and thought provoking that they might seem to be eye opening at first. But they are hardly revelations at all, they are the things which we knew all along and thought should be kept under wraps.

The filmmaker has blurred the two realms: private and public. Based on his own love life, Q has a hypothesis which he must now verify, and constantly looks outward for it. Q and his girlfriend Rii are two sexually liberated characters who in the discovery of their selves are also raising many uncomfortable questions. Through Love in India, Q has set out on a journey to find out the stories of love, or rather how India thinks about love. This is, in effect an exploration of the sexuality of the Indian people and the dichotomy associated with it; the now repressive society that once celebrated sex.

Q’s film doesn’t have any place for timid and conservative characters. It is a compilation of testimonies of love and sexuality from people out there who can dare to bare it all on camera; led by Q’s love Rii. Q and Rii not only reveal some of the most intimate secrets of their lives on camera, they also have their intimate moments captured on camera. And then there is Q’s mother, his uncle and aunt, and his friends testifying to their encounters with love and longing, some through personal accounts while others through eccentric quasi religions of love that they are followers of. And as we notice, everyone is characterized by conspicuous audacity, which runs through the entire film to give the audience a feeling of being outraged or then well, liberated, towards the end.

Love in India draws upon various instances from everyday life which expose the irony of the Indian people. They need an identity devoid of name and face like Love Guru on air to be able to discuss the problems of their love (read sex) lives, as private as premature ejaculation. And as long as they too remain anonymous, they don’t mind being heard on air discussing these problems. Similarly, there is a recurring scene in the documentary of girls and boys playing dandiya during Navaratri, meant to be a devotional dance in honor of the Goddess Durga. It’s a known fact that the cases of premarital pregnancy and abortion go up manifold during the festival of Navaratri, with young girls and boys spending nights together.

When one talks about sex at socio-cultural level, popular cinema can’t be left outside the discussion. Q talks about sex being packaged beautifully by our cinema, to produce hilarious results. A film distributor narrates how everyone likes to watch those titillating B grade films. The women though put up a countenance of disapproval, secretly enjoy it. The distributor simplifies it down to the fact that we are born for sex, and that one needs either a star or sex to make an Indian film work.

The way Q has gone about deconstructing and demystifying cultural and religious motifs to explain the significance of sex in Indian culture is commendable. He is personally, extremely fascinated by the saga of Radha and Krishna, considered to be the God of love; and he has completely peeled the layers of divinity off the gods. The love of Radha and Krishna has been presented as an illicit love affair between a promiscuous man and a woman of expertise. The filmmaker has chosen this saga of supposedly divine love worshipped over generations over the regular “land of kamasutra” rationale to bring out the hypocrisy in the Indian society. According to Q, the dichotomy is between the morals and norms of the society vis-à-vis the truth of the heart. The director who is out on a journey to find answers, has questioned all the mores of the society pertaining to love, marriage and sexuality.

The documentary also borders on the raunchy at times, like the scene where Q and his girlfriend are watching their own sex video. However, there is nothing titillating or flippant about the film, it has been dealt with the maturity of an adult trying to percolate into the skin of the society he is a part of to be able to solve the confusion around sexuality. It’s an extremely personal film, and a stunning social commentary at the same time.

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9 Responses to “Documentary Review:Love in India by Q (Kaushik Mukherjee)”

  1. utpal borpujari says:

    really good review. waiting to watch the film

  2. Vinoo says:

    Where can we view this documentary?

  3. Vijay Kolapkar says:

    A disgraceful documentary by an ugly director. His girlfriend can hardly speak English. Shame on this guy for filming himself having sex. This would turn off anyone. Only western film festivals would accept his films. Better luck next time Bengali.

    • Avi says:

      I Do not know where u from,but thank god all INDIAN’S wont think like u…if that happened then the film never get a NATIONAL AWARD…either the JURY BOARD OF NATIONAL AWARD of INDIAN FILM r NONSENSE FOOLS or U R NONSENSE FOOL….Next time THINK AT LEAST 5 TIMES TO TALK NE THING ABOUT THE CREATIVITY & INTELLECT OF BENGALI’S…..

  4. Chulkani says:

    This movie is not about English classes, I guess….. i didn’t like the movie, either… but then, filming himself having sex is a different issue…. neither it has got anything to do with western or Indian acceptance nor if it is modern or old… this is the biggest problem with us Indians… we judge everything on the basis of our culture, western- Indian bla bla bla shit, modern mentality etc etc etc……… dude!!! we are educated people!!! we don’t need all these to judge something or to come to a conclusion….. all we need is LOGIC!!! we have got brains, we have got enough sources to gather knowledge from, we are educated…. we don’t need to follow whatever our 14 gushti (parents and ancestors) says….

    a’ight… lets come to the point…. i liked the subject of the movie…. Q is a great person with great thoughts… but he could not make his message prominent…. for me this movie has become a khichdi (a messed up shit)…. the movie was less focused on the subject and more focused on Q’s grievances towards the indian society……

  5. Deepika says:

    First film i walked out of ever in my life…what a crap review….its not a film exploring anything at all…its just an attempt of a lost lover trying to resurrect the career of his girlfriend who seems to be a wannabe actress in bengali films….the facts presented in the film are distorted and personal view points of some insane people…shot shoddily inside dingy restaurants interviewing mad people giving gyaan on eternal love between Radha and Krishna…did Q even bother to read the ir story before presenting it in such a crude manner….and if he cud tell wat does he and his gf wanna prove showcasing themselves having sex on the camera????? A Porno film wrapped under the name of a documentary……..that wat this film is all about!!!

    • Avi says:

      Deepika its NOT A FILM THATS WHY IT GOT NATIONAL AWARD(GOLDEN LOTUS)Thank god Its not a film by your defination….

    • Vivek Waghmare says:

      If you can’t understand it, don’t abuse it by calling it names. It only shows your ignorance.

      Firstly, it’s not a ‘film’. It’s a documentary. The director has a right to make it anyway he likes.It’s not a bollywood masala film that goes by audience demand. As you’ve walked out of movie, you have no idea how it develops towards the end.

      Secondly, you are conservative, close minded and bound by shackles of your culture, society, religion, regionalism etc. and you derive your morals from it. You told to read the Krishna’s story; what version of story are you referring to? Which book? Which publication? India has thousands of different versions of stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna. Do you claim that your ‘revised and moralized version’ is only correct and stories that many villages, tribes of India have preserved from century are wrong? Know and cherish your culture before denying it.

      What you saw in the whole documentary is that sex scene. It’s all about Indian taboos on sex, isn’t it?

  6. tanya says:

    One word – Wannabe film maker with a wannabe actress trying to believe they are making a great subject!!! shoddy camera angles, unnecessary jumps to suggestive scenes. Every chance the man gets trying to capture his own ugly face… everything screams, hey I am a wannabe wannabe!!!
    the most hilarious part was scenes where old people talking with title “my mom”, “my uncle” LOL such a comedy! the dude seems to have gone to all his relatives, friends with camera…. & oh! this reviewer perhaps is one of them :-)

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