Documentary | 94 min | English and some Hindi with subtitles | India | 2002
“Of course, girls should progress, come forward. As long as they do it within limits it’s OK, but when they become… un-limited, then something bad is bound to happen and then they blame us boys…”
So, still want to be a feminist?
“Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the principles. But calling myself a feminist would be too much of label, you know?”
This witty, eclectic cult film introduced a fresh new language in Indian documentary. In it, a half-seen narrator called Fearless has a random encounter in a chat-room, which sets her off on a a journey “to see what feminism has done in the world”. She encounters feminists who recall the songs and actions of the Indian women’s movement, yuppies who discuss their modern marriage, a policeman writing films for ‘women’s upliftment’, women shopping at a bra sale, Bombay’s first woman cabbie, and a chatroom full of quirkily named women – Atilla_the_Nun, ChamkiGirl and Devi_is_a_Diva, and others who argue and fight and laugh about the meaning of feminism.
Using a personally reflective tone and playfully eclectic form, the film mixes non-fiction and fiction, to go beyond the basics of gender equality and slogans about liberation to ask questions about how feminism is actually lived out: why must women lead double lives, being feminist but not saying they are. How do we remain politically engaged as individuals who will not join groups? If feminism changes the way we live, then do we change the meaning of feminism as we live it? And then how do we separate true feminists from false ones? Will X-ray vision work better, or female intuition – or is there a common set of principles in this multiply interpreted philosophy? How do we make sense of love and anger, doubt and confusion, the personal and the political in this enterprise of pushing the boundaries, of being un-limited, which we call feminism.
“Paromita Vohra belongs to a new breed of directors…whose work essays innovative approaches to the short film and documentary. (Her) use of the chatroom device is a masterstroke…but between the laughs she smokes out somber truths…” – The Times of India
“Unlimited Girls is very impressive for the way it brings under one umbrella disparate strands of feminism and forces them to engage with each other in a seemingly effortless fashion. The way the filmmaker moves from one location to another, with a thin thread making for a bridge is fascinating. The film, full of smart one-liners and word play, never loses its chattiness and sense of humour even as it engages with serious issues.” – The Hindu
“Unlimited Girls is a document of persuasion. For those who like their films a little contemplative, this is a lively and thought provoking look at how women today define feminism.” – The Indian Express