Thought Leadership

Sara’s : Is cinema ready to talk about unwanted pregnancy?

Sara’s is about the life of a happy girl who wants to be a filmmaker. She hated pregnancy since childhood and believes that she does not have the skills to deal with children. But she accidentally gets pregnant and the rest of the film is about how she deals with it in a conservative society.

Sara’s is the third film by Jude Anthony Joseph.  All of his films had female-centred intrigues. At Sara’s house, Anna Ben plays the role of «Sara» and Sunny Wayne plays the role of Sara’s lover turned husband «Jeevan».

Although the film has a courageous storyline, the narrative fails to present the seriousness of the issue. Accidental pregnancy and abortions are two major subjects dealt with in the film. Since these concepts run contrary to acceptable morality and common belief, Sara’s is to be considered a special film. But lack of effective communication on these two topics has made the movie a failed attempt on brave topics. 

Confused Abortion

Sara is a half-baked character. She is portrayed as a girl with strong beliefs and attitudes. Her decision against pregnancy and her movie dreams are indisputable. But once she realizes she’s pregnant, she gets weaker and sadder. Sara starts expressing anger at the people around her and gets completely upset. Her depression makes the audience think that Sara is against abortion.

Woman always has complete control over her body. A casual sex,  marriage or blood relation never takes that away from her. She decides whether to have a baby or not. For many of them, giving birth to a baby will be a blessing. But don’t generalise the concept. There may be many more women who consider the same as a ten month burden. So deny pregnancy happening by a contraceptive failure or accident without a second thought. Because the law gives complete freedom for women to decide. It’s the society that demands the reason for abortion, not the law. So be strong to make your decisions, not reasons.

Sara wants to become a filmmaker. She worked hard to write a script for her to direct. But she is having problems in the industry because of being a woman. Producers wants to have sex  for funding her project. So she had to face various difficulties to reach her goal to become a director. Finally,  she gets a sensible producer and on the same day she becomes pregnant.

Sara was someone who didn’t love much of a family life. Even if she was a single child, she lived in a different town to fulfill her needs. Suddenly, she gets married to Jeevan with assurance of a life without children.

But because of a contraceptive failure, she gets into  trouble and suddenly the movie shows her as a different girl. The actual Sara we see until then diminishes and a fragile version of her rises up. This has been the biggest failure of the movie.

A movie with a strong beginning has collapsed altogether. Suddenly Sara is forced to choose between family and career. She is getting disturbed and the surroundings begin to affect her. These things are completely against a Sara which we liked in the beginning.

There is also a question regarding the fear of the movie industry against pregnancy. In the movie, there is an old actress who left the industry to look after her children. She says she was happy with her life after too. Sara also is feared of losing her project because of the pregnancy issue. This is one of the biggest issues that has to be addressed more seriously. Even if they don’t lose their previous skills, the pregnant woman is completely rejected by the entertainment industry. The same fear of the industry is shown in Sara’s too. There isn’t any proper say in the movie against this industry activity, which is also a big negative considering the content of the movie.

In an important scene, Sara responds to her mother-in-law emotionally to justify her choices. Here Sara opines that although parents sacrifice their lives for children, there is no assurance that they will take care of them in return. This runs counter to what she said earlier about her lack of childcare skills as the reason for not wanting children.

No problems?

The principal protagonist of the film, Sara, did not have appropriate conflicts to resolve. From scene one, we are informed that Sara hates pregnancy. Her husband is all right about it too. Even if her family members and friends are against Sara’ decision, they are not bothered. Even in the second half, the film does not raise further questions to the issue of abortion, making it too simple and boring.

Accidental pregnancy is scary to married couples. Though abortion is legal in India and there is insufficient awareness on it. But here, when Sara becomes aware of her pregnancy, she is angry with Jeevan. But then, only two of them had known, it was quite possible for them to have a good discussion about it from home itself and then go to the hospital with a clear mind. Until the stage of pregnancy, both are presented as ideal couples. Hence a confusing scene at the hospital seemed a bit farce and uncalled for.

When Sara meets the doctor in the counselling session, she isn’t talking about her life or dreams. The doctor advised her that she needs to get pregnant only when she wishes so. There also Sara keeps quiet and does not tell the doctor that she does not want children, as she did tell her boyfriends.

The major issue surrounding Sara’s is the lack of clarity. They have tried to show different reasons for avoiding pregnancy and fail to portray them effectively. The lead character Sara hates it because she doesn’t have the knack to look after the children. She also has her career ambitions. The doctor says to bear a child when the time comes and after her dreams are fulfilled. The pregnant woman in the climax hates it because of her health. But even without any reason, if a girl doesn’t want to be pregnant, what’s the problem there? Her right to deny pregnancy and live happily should not require any reasons. That’s where the movie feared real society and goes back to the conservative reality. 

Claps for Change

However, Sara’s has attempted to change the negativity surrounding abortion. Until now, abortions were done only by the negative characters or abortions happening to the lead actress will be an accident. It is a good gesture to show abortion positively. 

Women usually opt to deliver the child out of fear, even if it is an accidental pregnancy. The couple may not be in a situation to have a child, but still, the fear of society might force them to go for the delivery. Sara’s has strongly stated that any decision about one’s body and life purely depends on one’s own decisions, which is also appreciable.

In the meanwhile, Sara also directs a movie which turns out to be a hit. In the male-centric film industry, it’s hard to see the success of female directors. But here Sara who faced all the difficulties has directed a movie and made it a hit. The success of Sara’s film career is inspiring and the movie highlights the importance of focussing on one’s dream too.

Overall, Sara’s is a very good attempt on a relevant topic, unwanted pregnancy, but fails to communicate.

Writer : Unni Ambily

Unni Ambily is a Literature and Journalism graduate with PG diploma in Journalism. He works mostly in the entertainment field and writes short stories. He is a movie buff who loves melodies, philosophy and cricket.

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