Festival year: 2013
Poignant portrait of well-known Indian Tamil poet Salma. She spent twenty-five years of her life behind closed doors, at first in her elderly home and later in that of her parents-in-law. A fate that is common to many Muslim women around the world. Salma fought back, however, and regained the freedom that had been taken away from her at such a young age.
When Salma, a teenage girl from a village in the south of India, first has her period, her parents lock her up. She can no longer go to school and is forced to get married. Salma refuses and is kept shielded from the outside world for nine years as a result. When she finally gives in almost a decade later, she is immediately given in marriage and then again locked up at her parents-in-law’s home. She starts writing poems to vent her thoughts and feelings. She does so secretly, until her mother succeeds in smuggling her collection of poems out of the house and having them published. Soon, Salma becomes India’s most well-known Tamil poet. Following up on this first step towards freedom, she bravely stands up against Muslim traditions and codes of conduct in her village to champion women’s rights in India.
Festival veteran Kim Longinotto previously directed the films Sisters in Law (2005) and Pink Saris (2010).
United Kingdom, India 2013, 90 min.
Spoken language: Tamil
Official website: http://www.wmm.com/salma