The Netflix film that started a movement. ‘Period. End of Sentence’ aims to inspire people everywhere to think globally and recognise the impact young women can have. The film screened across the U.S. at film festivals in 2018 and premiered on Netflix in February 2019. It follows the women of Kathikhera, a village outside of New Delhi, India, as they install a machine and sell their pads throughout their district.
If you are an urban Indian woman, odds are that you’ve been asked at some point to refrain from touching or staining or entering spaces while on your period. This is such a normalised phenomenon, that most Indian women will not blink at it.
The Oscar-winning documentary short ‘Period. End of Sentence’ is burdened with the task of unfurling centuries of social conditioning, oppression, misinformation and ignorance associated with menstruation.
Directed by Rayka Zehtabch and produced under Netflix, this 2018 documentary short film is all about Indian women leading a quiet sexual revolution. The film stars Arunachalam Muruganantham, Shabana Khan, Gouri Choudari, Ajeya, and Anita in lead roles.
Period. End of Sentence, is saddled with the task of depicting eons of cultural conditioning and social awakening in just 24 minutes. As is the drawback with topics covered in this format, it looks like a neat highlights trailer that is designed to make our heads join the dots. Craft-wise, it is nothing remarkable, at least in context of the world it represents. By focusing on a cross-section of women from a remote North Indian village outside New Delhi, the documentary goes about chronicling the introduction and novelty of the sanitary pad system in rural surroundings.
The film essentially tells the Akshay Kumar starrer Padman’s story, but from the lens of those it should have been told: the women. You also see Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who invented the low-cost pad machine, but only for a fleeting moment. Zehtabchi presents us with a series of carefully placed interviews, of both men and women, who essentially travel to the heart of the problem/s that come by virtue of being born a woman. Ladies have to walk inside farmlands, or cover long distances during late evenings to dispose off used clothes (makeshift sanitary napkins).
The effectiveness of Period. End of Sentence lies in its ability to pack in its 25-minute runtime the three-part narrative structure. Not only is the film an introspection on the social issues and taboos existing in rural India, it also presents to us a solution to the problem. With more men helping out their female companions at the factory, no longer shying away from participating in the project, the film ends on a hopeful note.
At the core of it, Period. End of Sentence is a homage to womankind. Perhaps, with baby steps towards the right direction, period would only be used to end a sentence, and not to put an end to a woman’s ambitions, education and liberty.
Khushi Raizada is a student pursuing English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College for Women.
Edited by: Varda Ahmad
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.