Director Jaswant Dev Shrestha and screenwriter Rashmi Rustagi offer a different perspective on the subject of abortion that we seldom see nor may realize is a problem. Unborn is a short film about an Indian mother of two girls, Pernita (Ayushi Chhabra). She finds out that she is pregnant with her third child, and because she already has two daughters, her husband Suneel (Sumeet Dang) and the other patriarchs of the family insist the child must be a boy.
When her doctor tells Pernita that it’s too early to know what the baby’s gender is, Suneel insists on getting another ultrasound, and when the results don’t go his way, he schedules an abortion appointment for his wife.
“…when the results don’t go his way, he schedules an abortion…”
Unborn brings a particular point of view amid an incredibly divisive debate. Shrestha and Rustagi ask some earnest questions regarding the abortion debate. Having a child should be a joyous time for a mother. But joy is replaced with anxiety as Pernita succumbs to an intense amount of stress and pressure waiting for her child’s gender revelations. Even before the baby’s gender is revealed, she knows the consequences of the wrong result.
The short drama is heavy-handed, but its message comes across loud and clear. Shrestha and Chhabra capture the emotions with haunting honesty. Though it employs its fair share of over-dramatics, Unborn succeeds in making its point. It’s calling out a problem that exists in many countries, particularly in Asia (see One Child Nation). It shines a light on how many cultures and ideologies place little value on girls and women.
I attempt to avoid giving out my personal opinions — political or otherwise — in reviews (save about the film itself). That said, Unborn does have that Public Service Announcement vibe. In the end, I believe it effectively made its point and a point worth considering in one’s definition of what it means to be genuinely Pro-Choice.
"…shines a light on how many cultures and ideologies place little value on girls and women."