Her Song portrays a devastatingly powerful human story of resilience in the face of systemic injustice and exploitation in India, one of the world’s rising global powers. In Her Song, Indian-born director, Atin Mehra, and co-director, Mae Thornton Mehra capture the intimate story of a family surviving at the very bottom of the caste system as they face the decision of whether or not to send their youngest daughter into the longstanding community tradition of prostitution. At twelve years old Bulbul flickers between the levity of childhood hope and the brutal reality of her marginalized caste, in which girls are prized for their economic worth. Bearing the weight of a family in crisis, an HIV-positive sister and an historically exploited community barred from other economic opportunities, Bulbul stands at a crossroads where globalization propels centuries of caste-based discrimination to a boiling point. Interweaving intimate verite footage with artful historical narrative, the husband and wife team carefully captures an astonishing oral history of the Banchara Tribe, whose own rich background was erased and re-written during colonial-era India. It is through this telling that Bulbul is empowered to grapple with the limits of her own agency in a society that seeks to reduce her to a commodity.
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