Cosmopolitan India spotlights Ruchika Muchhala

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5 Indian Female Filmmakers Spotlighting the Stark Realities Around Women

Best known for their hard-hitting, women-centric documentaries these filmmakers say it like it is, both on-screen and off it.

“Ruchika Muchhala The award-winning filmmaker is best known for The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar—a quirky feature documentary on the predicament of single women in India, and the ‘need’ to be married. The film is an impactful reflection of the various social constructs of morality, sexuality, identity and femininity that are woven around the intricacies of arranged marriages; and how the match-making process often determines the woman’s place (worth?) in society. Interestingly, along with the ordeals of other characters in the film, Ruchika also documents her own dilemmas, in the course of her parent’s ‘mission son-in-law’. “It all started over a series of conversations with some friends, discussing the multi-million dollar industry of arranged marriages in India,” she tells Cosmo. “So even though the film follows my journey—along with that of two other ‘prospective brides’—it’s actually about the crisis women face in a world where it seems like there has been much progress in terms of opportunities, but, when it comes to marriage, regressive traditions and patriarchy still withhold.” The biggest challenge, Ruchika tells us, was to navigate through it all—interviewing and exploring all the people and businesses involved—while going through the emotional rollercoaster of the arranged-marriage process herself. “For example, while I wanted to inquire into and question ideas such as body image and the obsession with fair skin, I was constantly scrutinised and critiqued for my own size and skin colour by everyone, from the marriage bureau lady to the biodata photographer.” Ruchika is currently based in the US, working on her next project. Ironically, despite all the success to back her, she feels she has to prove herself much more than her male colleagues. “Although I’m confident, I’m not very good at hustling…so, as a woman, and one of colour in the US at that, getting a word in can be challenging, especially when you’re dealing with a male-dominated crew.” Read more in the November 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan India

Ruchika Muchhala