What’s Wrong With Chandigarh’s ‘Gedi Culture’? This Film Tells You
Street sexual harassment, or ‘eve-teasing’ as it’s known more commonly in India, is a disturbing everyday reality for women all over the country. From lewd remarks to sneaky glares to blatant staring and inappropriate singing and breaking into tunes - there really is no end to what happens on Indian streets (and the world over) under the pretext of having “fun”.
Unfortunately, this “fun’’ is mostly restricted to men, while women deal with the daily struggle of choosing what to wear, what time of the day to step out, whom to go out with and so on and so forth.
When one talks of street sexual harassment, the mention of Chandigarh’s infamous ‘Gedi Route’ is pretty much inevitable. Over the years, ‘Gedi Culture’, originally about simply having a good time with friends, devolved into one that came to be associated with women’s harassment. The Route is simply a road in the city where boys and girls, often students of nearby colleges, would meet - an opportunity they did not find easily (otherwise) in the past.
Cut to contemporary times. Now it’s a road known for catcalling women, an often internalised, normalised, and even glorified part of Chandigarh.
Gedi Route, a recent short-film by Tapan Babbar, attempts to draw attention to these disturbing aspects about women’s harassment with the help of a fictional narrative.
The film opens with a scene of a boy going out for a run, early in the morning. His running path is none other than Gedi Route. As he begins, a voice from nowhere leaves him baffled. He soon realises that moving forward makes him privy to conversations that have taken place on it. It starts with boys’ tales of parties, gadgets, and drunken brawls. The protagonist enjoys the stories and smiles along.
However, the stories get darker and start gravitating around women’s harassment on the road. As the video hits a crescendo, the visibly disturbed protagonist reaches the end of the Route. He can no longer hear the voices, but he observes a man from a distance who now looks as bemused as the protagonist at the start of his run.
The Route has now found a new listener for its story. Take a look and let us know what you feel in the comments below.