Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Retelling of Ram and Sita's love tale in the Ramayana from a female perspective is called "Sita Sings the Blues."

 Here's a look at Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues, which presents the epic from a woman's perspective, before you watch Om Raut's Adipurush, where maryada purushottam Ram (played by Prabhas) sets out on his journey to save Sita (played by Kriti Sanon) from the clutches of Ravana (played by Saif Ali Khan).

In Valmiki's Ramayana, Sita is the helpless damsel in distress who needs to be saved, and Ram is depicted as the ultimate hero and the ideal man who exemplifies integrity and honor. It's a love story that starts in a dream and ends in a nightmare.

The mythological tale has been told and told again and again across generations in written and oral form, evolved on stage, and many of us have seen it on screen in political dialogue, animated cartoons, films, and television series. Even though the Ramayana is still the Indian epic that is told the most often all over the world, most of it is told from a man's perspective, especially in movies. Today, we return to Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues, a feminist interpretation of the ancient Indian epic told through Janaki's point of view. Through contemporary themes of women's empowerment, Nina illuminates the plight of women in one of the world's most celebrated mythologies through her film.

When Sita Sings the Blues starts with Billie Holiday's "Moanin' Low" and ends with "He's the kind of man needs the kind of a woman like me," it instantly connects with the audience of contemporary females. Nina Paley, in her executive, mixes famous stories and capricious visual styles to make a captivating and energetically entertaining yet piercing. It tells a story of truth, justice, and a woman's cry for equality in society without apologies or pretense of originality.

In the Ramayana, Sita, the faithful wife, follows her husband Ram on a fourteen-year exile to a forest. However, she is kidnapped by Ravana, and despite remaining loyal to Ram, she faces numerous challenges. When Sita's husband, Nina, an artist, decides to end their marriage and dump her via email while he is in India working on a project, Nina finds parallels in Sita's life.

To demonstrate how the Ramayana is popular not only in India but also in the Far East, the film features three hilarious Indonesian shadow puppets speaking with Indian accents. In this well-done animated rendition of the epic, the three shadow puppets narrate both the ancient tragedy and the contemporary comedy.

The film, even as it questions the customary interpretation of a lady's hardships, makes for an engaging watch as it involves 1920's jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw for its melodic intermissions.

Nina's film is a layered piece of workmanship, alongside the music, even the visuals are staggering as her personality rouse a universe of wonderment and a mentality of scrutinizing the old approach to praising a lady's penance. In order to accomplish this, the filmmaker has employed a large cast that includes flying monkeys (representing the vaanar sena), evil monsters, gods, goddesses, warriors, sages, and winged eyeballs to demonstrate how women are frequently scrutinized by society through the lens of judgment.

Sita Sings the Blues has been criticized for its unfavorable portrayal of Ram, despite the fact that Rotten Tomatoes reports that 100% of critics have given the film a positive review. As with any piece of art that questions the norm, popular beliefs, and traditional gender roles, Sita Sings the Blues has sparked controversy.

In any case, for what reason is Sita Sings the Blues significantly more applicable today? The popular Ramayana narrative is reclaimed and questioned in Nina's film, which provides an opportunity for critical thinking. It makes viewers realize how important it is to observe and comprehend the underlying themes of masculinity, how women are treated, and shifting viewpoints in a society that is rapidly changing.

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