Boys Who Like Girls is a documentary that offers a fresh perspective on what men in India are doing to stop the ongoing violence and abuse of women in Indian society. This documentary was filmed against the horrific backdrop that shocked not only Indian society but the world of the gang rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012.
Female filmmaker and director Inka Achte follows three men in different stages of their lives, Harish who founded the charity Men Against Violence and Abuse who is in his 50s, Aspar a young social worker and Ved, a teenager trying to escape the violent clutches of his father and whos views of women up until he meets Harish are not wholesome.
The documentary is also partly a coming of age story focusing on Ved’s journey. We follow his hopes of escaping his father’s clutches and doing well academically otherwise he will be sent to work on a rural farm. Achte’s documentary style is that of a quiet observer who doesn’t have any preconceived ideas but just wants to show what society is like but also widen the discussion. There are good men out there taking a stand and they too need society’s support. One frustrating section of the documentary is where we follow Harish on a fundraising trip overseas who is basically told that because he is not a woman lots of charities will not help him. The documentary raises so many questions but does not answer them, in some respects that is frustrating but also positive – it is a call to arms of the viewer to engage and voice their opinion.
Boys Who Like Girls asks poses one simple question, which remains to be answered, will Ved’s generation be the first generation of boys that actually like girls? That is to say not abuse them. In watching this documentary, you hope that the work of Harish will continue to find funding and help provide the positive masculine role models that Indian society so clearly needs.
Hopefully, this documentary will be picked up and shown to a wider audience, there are not only men but boys who like girls and the subject matters touched upon are prevalent in all societies not just in India.
Boys Who Like Girls will receive its world premiere on Saturday 9 June at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.
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