Subverting war narrative in the purview of gender justice: Analysing Bishkanta (2015): A Liberation War documentary from Bangladesh

Afroza Bulbul*, Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article analyses how a Bangladeshi documentary film Bishkanta (The Poison Thorn) (2015) directed by a feminist and cultural activist Farzana Boby negoti-ates the gendered war narrative of Bangladesh and how the film is being used as an enabling platform for the Birangonas (‘war-raped women’) to express their long-time endured suffering and outrage. The Liberation War of Bangladesh (1971) is amongst the most represented themes in Bangladeshi media culture. However, feminist scholars have been critical about the gender blindness of the depic-tions, with women’s experiences encoded only as victims. Hence, a documentary demanding recognition of women’s contributions and enabling space for women to speak about their losses, pains and grievance is an exception. By analysing the narrative techniques (i.e. plot, perspective, language and frames) this article shows how Bishkanta represents the stories of female rape survivors and make a claim for gender justice. Our findings suggest, despite Boby’s good intentions, Bishkanta has been reproducing the mainstream victimhood narrative ascribed to these women and occasionally reinscribing the gendered ideology of Liberation War in the mainstream nationalist discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in South Asian Film and Media
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2023

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© 2022 Intellect Ltd Article.

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