World Cinema Amsterdam, Sir (2018): “..The submissiveness and saying ‘yes sir’ to everything..”

Sir

“I love Sir (2018) by Rohena Gera and I just came back from India three weeks ago. It was my first time and I went with my girlfriend who had been there already. She has a Surinamese background but she is of East-Indian decent so her roots, far away in history are originally based in India. Sir is about Ratna who works as a servant in Ashwin’s home who comes out of a rich family. Ratna tries to pursue her dreams, while Ashwin seems to have given up. Although there are class differences they seem to develop feelings for each other.”

“The relationship between a rich man and a person who works in service of the rich like Ratna who approaches her boss in a very submissive way. I recognize so many things from this film which I experienced myself over there and submissiveness super uncomfortable. I really tried to break through it by simply saying that they don’t have to approach me like that. Another example is when we were sleeping on a tea plantation for a few nights. It was low season en there was hardly anybody there. There was a TV and the cook and other workers decided to eat and watch the World Championship together, but when I entered the room they immediately stood up and wanted to leave. I said to them that they can stay and continue to watch TV. We can all watch it together because soccer is a fun and fraternizing sport. But nothing I said mattered they still felt the need to leave. All of this I saw back in this film. The submissiveness and saying ‘yes sir’ to everything. That is why I was very able to connect with this film.”

“It’s great that the director made this film with the goal to inspire people to talk about these class and caste differences because that’s exactly what I tried to break through. But to come back to the movie. What I love so much about Sir is that it’s made in such a subtle way. You can feel the tension between the main characters Ratna and Ashwin the entire time, but it’s not done in an obvious way. Step by step they do build it up and the spectator is slowly being sucked in while the film is working towards a climax. Which is super strong because that resonates longer than with a fast-paced film where you can quickly be captivated by a film, but thereafter it can quickly go away as well.”

Photo and story by Feargal Agard.

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