After reading the synopsis for Indian movie The Journey, I have to admit that my expectations weren’t that high – two schoolgirls fall in love, but are forced to keep their feelings a secret within their hugely traditional community.
You already know how it’s going to pan out don’t you? Family shame, heartache, arranged marriage – they’re all themes that are likely to figure in there somewhere.
However, this predictability doesn’t make the film undeserving of a viewing. Let’s face it, this sort of tortured scenario must occur all the time in Kerala – the southern Indian region in which the film’s set. And in fact, that was what inspired director Ligy J Pullappally to make this movie. After hearing about one particularly tragic story, she set out to raise awareness with her film and help reduce the number of lesbian suicides in this Indian region.
And her attempts are admirable. The Journey tells a moving tale and does so with sensitivity and tenderness. The acting may be a little wooden in places, the structure may be a little long, and the ending is admittedly a bit bewildering, but visually it’s beautiful, the two girls (Suhasini V Nair and Shrruiti Menon) are also beautiful, and the narrative is compelling enough to sustain the interest. Above all though, it’s the bravery of this movie that should be praised – challenging convention and highlighting the dangers of tradition and family honour. A thought-provoking picture, it deserves to be seen.
The Journey is released 28th January by Peccadillo Pictures