Sara’S – Deconstructing Societal Norm

‘I am not getting married’ or ‘We have decided to not have kids,‘ both these statements still leave behind confused faces, and emotional appeals from near and dear ones. Sara’S is a take towards normalising such unaccepted notions. It’s commendable to see how Malayalam cinema is trying to discuss offbeat topics, even when there exists movies that depict abortion as a grave sin or terms it as a ‘murder’. This also shows how Malayalam cinema directors are choosing to not give people what they want, but what they need!

“Adults have the right to choose” is a statement that seems to not go hand in hand with Indian societal perceptions. In India it sometimes becomes extremely difficult to choose between what you want and what is seen as right. Seeking consent, for any life decision, of not just partners and parents, but also the entire baggage of relatives and the society is considered normal. Either you seek it, or it just comes to you, that’s how things work normally here. But, Sara (Anna Ben) – the protagonist in this movie, directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, stands out and remains clear of what she wants from her life.

Sara is a cheerful, out-spoken, career-oriented woman, who lives her life on her own terms. She is a normal woman, just that only some can agree with. The character clearly knows her choices and to stand for it.

The movie is not just about freedom of choice for a woman, but also deals with an important aspect of parenting. It leaves one to ponder upon whether it’s better not be a parent than be a bad one. Oh! Sara’S is clearly not a bashing on the choice of motherhood, it simply points out how it’s an individual’s or the couple’s decision, and not that of the family or society, to have or not have children. 

Sara’S also emphasizes woman’s right to abortion and reminds people about the Medical Termination Act, which is fairly liberal in India, but not widely known.

The movie also deals with the misogyny women face in the film industry. It highlights the struggle women go through in their creative professional lives, with characters such as that of Sara’s mother-in-law, who believes that filmmaking is not a job suitable for women, or the producers who show less confidence in her.

Sara’S is a commendable attempt at correcting years of glorification of motherhood and scorning those who stand for their choice. Akshay Hareesh, the scriptwriter has made sure to stick around the central idea of Sara’s choices and her dream of becoming a director, which is laudable. Anna Ben has also done justice to her role with her assured performance.

Having said all that the overall film experience is far from perfect due to its below-par writing and ill-developed supporting characters. Also, the film portrays the protagonist in a privilege, while in real world a character like hers will not have it easy, as Sara does.

Regardless, the movie is a reassurance to the younger generation, especially women, who are a critical part of parenthood. Sara’S celebrates women for who they are and want to be, rather than just limiting themselves to labels.