Blaming and Shaming

In a modern portrayal of events following Sita's rescue from her abductor Ravana, as detailed in the Hindu epic poem The Ramayana, Sita finds herself in therapy and wrestles with the psychological effects of her abduction and slut shaming, leaving her with even more questions than answers.

Despite the connection to the characters' ancient Hindu origin stories, this tale is relatable to so many as the themes in the tale continue to repeat, even today.

Because these topics are sensitive by definition, vierwers may find themselves in a place of discomfort and hopefully will learn a little about themselves through that discomfort.

*Contains adult language and mature themes, not suitable for children

  • Joya Joseph
    Director
  • Joya Joseph
    Writer
    Pressure Cooked
  • Joya Joseph
    Producer
    Pressure Cooked
  • Joya Joseph
    Key Cast
    "Sita"
    Swagger, Thumb War!, Pressure Cooked
  • Amy Paquette
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Molly Scanlon"
    Thumb War!
  • Tripti Bansal
    Key Cast
    "Draupdi"
  • Varun Aggarwal
    Key Cast
    "Rama"
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Drama
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 37 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    2,800 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Joya Joseph

Joya Joseph (she/her) is a first generation Indian American female first time filmmaker currently living in North Carolina. Her parents moved to the US in the late 60s from West Bengal. When growing up, houses of worship (temples or 'mandir') in the Hindu community, much less the subsections of the Hindu community were hard to come by so she learned a lot about her religion through reading and talking with her parents. Clearly open minded regarding religion, she married a South Indian Catholic man.

She attended Quaker school in Philadelphia as a child and a Quaker women's college outside of Philadelphia (Bryn Mawr College), though she grew up in New Jersey. The Quaker influence really added to an artistic household. Fast forward to now, when she has decided to pursue a career in acting and has simultaneously found a love of writing and filmmaking. She is eager to continue telling stories that center women, people of color and other marginalized people.

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Director Statement

This story has been rattling around my head for pretty much my whole life. I always wondered what it would've been like for Sita to come home from her trauma, only to be constantly retraumatized by the people who supposedly love her. My hope is that we have given our viewers a different perspective on an ancient set of characters, and something new to think about.

My take on these characters is mine alone and I recognize that it will cause people discomfort, whether or not they are familiar with the characters or plots of the source material (The Ramayana & The Mahabharata).

While the film takes major characters out of space and time from The Ramayana (Sita, Rama, Lakshman) and The Mahabharata (Draupadi), my goal is for viewers to engage with a woman discussing her trauma, her relationship, and the way in which the world around her sees her. I believe these themes are still prevalent and relevant today, especially in this post Me Too era. Viewers who are familiar with these original Hindu epics may find discomfort in the flipped narrative. But hopefully, we still feel connected to the new material and can find themselves giving space to that discomfort to analyze what in themselves they recognize or fear. I hope those unfamiliar with the source material are able to engage with the story and are curious enough to explore this world further.

By "flipping the script" on an age-old tale, I believe I am asking members of my community, to look at how we discuss women and how we hold different standards for men and women. While the story focuses around specific Hindu characters, I do believe that conversation is universal to all communities. Difficult conversations are never fun but are always necessary.

Sharing a story that focuses on Indian American characters and actors filmed in North Carolina, fills me with pride as it mirrors a lot of our changing local demographics.