Something Like a War

Director: Deepa Dhanraj
English (subtitled), 52 min, 1991, India
A historical overview of India's coercive Family Planning programme and its effect on women.
Something Like a War
A still from Something Like a War

Something Like a War examines India’s national Family Planning programme from the perspective of women, who are its primary targets. The programme, launched in 1952, was formulated in collaboration with Western population control experts.

The film traces the history of the family planning programme and exposes the cynicism, corruption and brutality, which characterizes its implementation. It also questions the ethics of internationally funded contraceptive research, which uses Indian women as guinea pigs.

As the women discuss their status, sexuality, fertility control and health, it is clear that in the absence of inputs such as education, healthcare, land reform, employment opportunities, social security and improvement in women’s status the programme, in their words is “reducing the poor not poverty”.

Producer: Deepa Dhanraj
Director: Deepa Dhanraj
Camera: Navroze Contractor
Editing: Haida Paul
Sound: Dileep Subramaniam
  • Swiss Television Award,Festival International du Film Documentaire, Nyon, Switzerland, 1992
  • Best Long Documentary, Films De Femmes, Creteil, France, 1993
Select Screenings:
  • IDFA, Amsterdam,2008
  • Mumbai International Film Festival for Short Films and Documentaries, 1992
  • International Short Film Festival, Leipzeg, Germany, 1992
  • Festival of South-Asian Women Directors - Sakhi, New York, U.S.A., 1992
  • Tampere Film Festival, Finland, 1993
  • Desh Pradesh Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 1993
  • Human Rights Convention, Geneva, 1993
About the Director:

Deepa Dhanraj is an award winning filmmaker who has been actively involved in the women's movement since 1980. Over the years, she has participated in workshops, seminars and discussion groups on various issues related to women's status - political participation, health and education.

Deepa has an extensive filmography spanning nearly three decades that include many series of films on education and health as well as award winning documentaries. Enough of this Silence (2008) , The Advocate (2007), Nari Adalat (2000), Itta Hejje Mundakka Thegiya Bediri Hindakka, a series of 12 films for elected women in Gram Panchayats (1995), The Legacy of Malthus (1994), Something like a War (1991), and Sudesha (1983), are a few of her films.

Her films have traveled to numerous film festivals world wide. Her film Kya Hua Iss Sheher Ko? was recently restored by the Arsenal, Berlin.

Posted by Magic Lantern Movies LLP on February 2, 2014
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