A note from director Taruna Khanagwal on THE FOREIGNER:
I got the idea of this short film after witnessing some small town guys getting fascinated by a foreigner in a market place.
With ‘The Foreigner’, I tried to give an overview on how and why men in Indian society objectify ‘foreign’ women. Actually many men if not all, objectify women in some or the other way but when it comes to a foreigner, it is far more.
The Foreigner though is treated in a slightly comic way, exposes Indian men’s obsession with ‘white women’ and also their perception of them which gets highlighted when a guy in the film says all white girls will have sex with anyone.
They think that way because of the foreigners casual dressing habits and body language which sends unintended sexual signals to them. Why I chose to bring up this point is that it shows men’s way of blaming women for what they wear. The other question that this movie poses is why Indian men think foreign women are more giving than Indian women. Although this movie depicts a foreigner, if we dig deeper and look around the statements that are being used by the males in the movie, it generally shows the mentality of the society as a whole. We also can observe such ill-thinking is demeaning to all women be it Indian or Western. For Indian men, a Western girl should always be available for sex simply because she is White and Western and she should be open with regard to her sexuality. On the other hand, an Indian girl should suppress her sexuality because she is Indian and ‘sanskari’. In both ways, men want to have their own way and there is no term like ‘consent’ or ‘choice’ in their dictionary.
If she is treating you with a broad smile on her lips, shaking hands or becoming friendly with you, it’s not an invite, it’s just a gesture of politeness which indicates nothing but ‘Respect’. The important thing to remember here is that an ‘action’ or ‘gesture’ that may come naturally to foreigners might be misinterpreted in a conservative country like India. Due to curiosity or cultural constructs or just dark mentality whatever is the right word, Indian men have formed false notions of the sexual availability of foreign women.
My short film, The Foreigner, is about how some men perceive female Foreigners, who come here to know about our country or to work or just as tourists as mere sexual objects not realizing the truth that they are as human as us and it’s our responsibility to make them feel secure and safe.
The director can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org